The Football Players Association (FPA) has shrugged off resistance from some TNM Super League clubs to register in its fold 73 of the elite league’s 480 players.
This means 15.2 percent of the top-flight league players is now registered with the body as compared to 6.3 percent three months ago when the FPA opted to directly engage the players following a snub from the majority of the 16 clubs, who felt the idea of financing the association with eight percent cut from gross gate revenue of the country’s organised football matches could significantly reduce their earnings.
But on Friday, FPA general secretary Enerst Mangani said they are happy that top-flight league players are, on their own, slowly but surely realising the importance of being members of the association.
“We are making big strides in our mission to help footballers live a comfortable life and have something to stand on at the end of their career. We are happy that most players have realised the importance of being our members,” he said.
Mangani, whose entity approached Flames players in camp in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre on Thursday, said they target to register half of the Super League players by the end of this season.
As a way of appreciating the current members and attracting more players into their fold, the FPA has since announced that, at the end of this season, they plan to introduce an awards gala that will comprise only the registered members.
“The awards will only be available strictly among the membership. Based on the pool of members we have, we will follow up with the Super League of Malawi [Sulom] and the media as to which players out of our membership should be awarded,” he said.
“We have a number of organisations that have expressed interest to provide the awards and we are in discussion with them on how we can make the inaugural ceremony a memorable one.”
Some of the registered, members Be Forward Wanderers striker Peter Wadabwa and Charles Thom of Dwangwa United said they are happy to be associated with the players’ body.
“This is a helpful association and I am happy to be one of its members. Most of us just get excited to sign contracts with clubs without knowing our benefits and the association is able to guide on such issues,” said Wadabwa, who has vast experience playing in the national team and South Africa clubs.
“Sometimes clubs breach a contract by unfairly dismissing the players or fail to compensate you when seriously injured. But with this association, we have the power to take clubs to court.”
Among other benefits to FPA members include being covered on medical expenses at various hospitals through Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm), insurance for injuries through Nico General Insurance, educational training through Modern Educational and Training Institute (Meti), financial literacy education through Old Mutual Malawi and funeral services such as provision of coffin and transportation when a member dies.