Some minority sports associations have spoken out on their frustrations over continued meagre grants, the latest being in the 2018/19 National Budget.
Among others, Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) and Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM), have described their allocations as peanuts, saying government should not expect anything good.
Basmal’s annual subvention has been doubled to K3 million while AAM has had its allocation increased by a meagre K300 000 to K2 million while Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi’s (NAM) grants have been maintained at K300 million and K200 million respectively.
The disparity clearly shows the deep discrepancies in sports resources distribution, triggering fears that the situation could discourage minority sports development.
In an interview with Weekend Nation on Thursday, Basmal general secretary (GS) Edgar Ng’ong’ola said: “Our reaction is a great deal frustration because we seem to be constantly hitting a blank wall.
“K3 million allocation against a proposed budget of K150 million is a drop in the ocean. Government knows that what they give us is peanuts and we cannot do anything with it.”
The grant represents just two percent of their proposed funding.
“Basically what the government is asking us to do is use the K3 million for youth and women’s development, technical and referees’ development, both men and women’s national teams, improve infrastructure, etc. It’s sad.
“I wish they could level the playing field one day and allocate us something close to what football and netball gets and see how we are going to make Malawi proud,” he said.
AAM GS Frank Chitembeya said their allocation is not even enough to host the National Athletics Championship.
“And yet the Minister [of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development] always expects athletes to bring medals from international tournaments.
“The truth is that with such meagre funding, we should not expect anything good from athletics. It raises questions about [government’s] seriousness to improve athletics,” he said.
Chitembeya said they presented a K39 million budget and the K2 million allocation represents just 5.13 percent of the proposed budget.
However, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana said it is time associations started generating their own funds for their operations and programmes.
“The allocations they get are supposed to be starter packs and there are other ways through which associations can generate more funding.
“For instance, athletics can generate funding from registration of its members in particular competitions, but they don’t do that,” he said.
Reacting to the maintained allocation of K300 million which is the highest, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “Half a loaf is better than nothing. We appreciate the kind of gesture that has been demonstrated by Malawi Government.
“However, the funding won’t be sufficient to cater for the junior national teams. This will subsequently derail the developmental agenda we have been pursuing to create a robust nursery for the Flames through the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23.”
On her part, NAM president Khungekile Matiya said they will wait for MNCS’ official communication.
“Nevertheless, we will cushion the shortfall through fundraising activities. Of course, we will fail to undertake development activities as well as national team assignments.”