There is a silent rule in domestic football administration that if you want to survive in the corridors of power, you must appease fans by whatever means available.
Mark my words; I am saying fans and not supporters. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines a fan as one who admires or enjoys watching or listening to something—in this case football.
Being a supporter involves more. You must first believe in the ideals of a team and invest in it your time, energy and money through paying membership fees, among others. It is that bond that makes it impossible for supporters to easily switch team allegiance.
With fans, the lines of allegiance and responsibility are blurred. All things being equal, the fans are important when they operate from the terraces. Not in Malawi. They step right onto the pitch and board rooms to influence decisions.
No decision to curb gate collections fraud and violence can work as that would mean bringing sanity to the game.
Installing such measures runs counter to the agenda of the fans that thrive on chaos. The only way for them to retain their relevance is through fanning trouble.
These fans are many and they have untouchable ring-leaders or football warlords who remote-control officials, thereby rendering the official’s positions insecure.
In turn, the administrators play ball by appeasing the supporters to have a bigger say on gate collections, coach/player recruitment and even squad selection.
You know the officials are at the mercy of the fans when they make silly statements and decisions.
If the whole Ministry of Youth and Sports was shaken by ordinary fans in Blantyre into re-opening Kamuzu Stadium, then you have to feel for elected officials at Mighty Wanderers, Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.
Everyone from FAM to Sulom is at the mercy of the fans, who can remove the officials at the slightest whim—whether through the ballot box or by force.
The only way out for domestic football is to encourage private legal ownership of teams as is the case at Blantyre United and Epac.
Otherwise, elected officials cannot deliver the goods in Malawi.
Ever wondered why the best brains shun the game?