A month after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) first vice-president James Mwenda lost to the association’s incumbent president Walter Nyamilandu in FAM elections, he and a few other officials have been removed from the list of CAF match commissioners for 2020 and 2021.
Mwenda has been replaced by Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba, according to the list Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released.
National Referees Association (NRA) chairperson Patrick Kapanga, National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Suzgo Ngwira and her deputy Anne Mseteka, have also been appointed replacing FAM referees development officer Maxwell Mtonga, former NWFA boss Severia Chalira and referee Martha Nyekanyeka, respectively.
Mwenda, who lost the hotly-contested FAM presidential elections to Nyamilandu, yesterday described the changes as football politics.
“I saw it coming; those were campaign promises, that when they [Team Walter] win the recent elections, they would fire some of us as commissioners and give the posts to their loyal lieutenants,” he said.
“However, I am not bitter. In Malawi that is how football politics works. As I said, I am concentrating on other things now and I know that all the positions I had in football would be taken away from me. To me, this is not surprising.”
He, nevertheless, cherished his time as CAF commissioner, saying they helped him gain experience in football administration.
When asked if Mwenda’s replacement was indeed due to football politics, Nyamilandu yesterday said it was the case.
“He [Mwenda] is not active anymore. It is a chance for others that are directly involved in football administration,” he said.
On his part, Mumba said he is lost for words.
“This is exciting news for me. I thank God for this because it is a great honour for a person like me to be appointed a CAF match commissioner,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, football analyst George Kaudza-Masina said the changes are normal, although “unfortunate to a certain extent”.
“This is normal in the sense that a leader will always want to work with people he trusts, in this case, Humba over Mwenda. It is also unfortunate because this was the time for Nyamilandu to extend an olive branch by re-appointing Mwenda as a CAF assessor,” he said.
“Football politics will always be there and I hope that Mwenda will just accept that he is no longer in the system. Moreover, these are not permanent positions, let others try their luck.” Prior to the latest appointments, which take effect immediately, Mwenda, Mtonga, Chalira and Nyekanyeka were commissioning CAF-sanctioned matches, including CAF Champions League, Confederations Cup and national team engagements (qualifiers and tournaments), across the continent