The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) leadership has performed poorly in promotion of players’ welfare while scoring highly in football development where women’s football, beach soccer and youth structures gained leverage.
This is according to Nation on Sunday analysis of the outgoing FAM president Walter Nyamilandu’s manifesto titled ‘Harvest Time’, which propelled him to re-election in 2014.
FAM holds elections this December.
However, of the outlined player support programmes, nothing has been implemented. The pledges included establishing medical scheme cover, setting up minimum wage for players, introducing vocational and skills training and establishing players’ Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) and Players Welfare Fund.
In the blueprint, among others, Nyamilandu said they would partner with the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Muscco) to roll out Mpira Sacco to help footballers become self–reliant.
Reads the manifesto: “The Mpira Sacco would play a vital role in securing savings for the footballers since they cannot just withdraw anyhow. With that discipline, the players are protected from impulsive spending.”
Formere national team midfielder Fischer Kondowe, said it was a concern that most welfare programmes were not fulfilled, but he was quick to point out that the welfare has improved.
“At club level, we are able to see that players are on monthly salaries, thanks to the Club Licencing System enforcement. This was not the case in the past,” he said.
The Nyasa Big Bullets star said players’ welfare can only improve if clubs have sponsors.
“Some of the programmes, for example, in the manifesto can work but the centre of it should be having clubs that are well sponsored. That would mean the players having enough to save and invest in initiatives such as Sacco,” he said.
The FAM leadership thrived in the football development section. Nyamilandu made seven and achieved five promises, including promotion of women’s football, youth and beach soccer, building referees’ capacity and raising coaching standards.
“We will allocate 25 percent of national team sponsorships towards women’s national team. Re-enter international competitions by participating in Cosafa tournaments and the Africa Women’s Championship,” the manifesto promised.
Both the women’s football and beach soccer teams have played in a number of international tournaments in the four year stretch.
National Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalichero said the key shortfall was that FAM had not trained enough referees to take charge of regional league matches.
“We are facing a significant shortfall of referees. In the end, we are forced to use unfit referees and that compromises the game,” he said.
The other promises in the manifesto were drafted Infrastructure Development, National Team, Competitions and Match Organisation and Viable Commercial Projects. Nearly 50 percent of the promises have been achieved.
Resumption of national team replica jersey sales, development of Chiwembe ground into a mini-stadium, securing new Flames sponsors (FDH Bank), football calendar harmonisation, are some of the fulfilled promises in the manifesto.
But FAM has, among others, under those segments, failed to establish a new affiliate Malawi Schools Football Association (Masfa) to administer schools football and failed to give the Malawi Under-15 international tournament.
FAM has also not set up the promised fully-equipped television and radio broadcasting production studios to boost broadcasting revenue.
“We will launch a fully-equipped Mpira Broadcasting Studio (TV and Radio) at Chiwembe Technical Centre to record and edit TV and Radio programmes, documentaries and commercials.
“In addition to that, FAM will procure outside broadcasting vans and HD digital cameras, among other equipment, to ensure that the implementation of the broadcasting rights venture is a smooth affair on a win-win platform for all the parties involved,” the manifesto stated.
As we went to press, Nyamilandu had not responded to our questionnaire as regards why he failed to implement some of the projects.
But in an earlier interview, he signalled that there was still time to push for the implementation of some programmes.
On the establishment of football academies, he said: “We intend to launch the academy within the next three months and roll out this model in the four main cities Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba in the subsequent years.
Football analyst George Kaudza-Masina said he was impressed with FAM’s performance in the past four years in youth and women’s football development
“In summary, Walter Nyamilandu has done a good job despite the national team not showing much improvement. The FA’s secretariat is fully-fledged and functioning very well,” he said.