Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Wednesday gave Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) some home work in a quest to breathe a new lease of life into the country’s sports governing body.
The Veep met Sports Council’s management led by its acting executive secretary Henry Mereka in Blantyre to appreciate progress of the reforms they are undertaking and discuss other new areas of reforms.
The council is implementing two reform areas—introduction of physical education in primary schools and introduction of electronic gate management systems in stadia.
However, while commending the council on these initiatives, the Vice-President said there should be a holistic effort to rejuvenate sports in the country.
Writing on his official Facebook page after the meeting, Chilima said: “The feeling out there is that we have regressed as a country instead of progressing.
“We need to reach the level of exporting talent to Europe and other top flight leagues across the globe just like other African countries are doing, including our neighbours.”
To this effect, he suggested that the council must brainstorm on how it can court the private sector back into sponsorship of various sporting disciplines while at the same time branding the corporate image of the sports sector to instil confidence in prospective sponsors.
Chilima said: “I have also welcomed the reform area on automated gate fee collection systems to reflect modernity as well as to curb abuse of funds. But I was quick to state that this will require total commitment from the council and other stakeholders owing to resistance by those that thrive on gate collection money at the expense of players.
“Moving forward, I have advised the council to identify new reforms on financial sustainability so that in the long run the institution checks itself from Treasury dependence.”
He also advised the council to stand up and be counted, saying as a government parastatal responsible for sports in the country, MNCS must raise its relevance and not play second fiddle.
He said: “We need a rebirth of the council that breathes life and energy in sporting activities across the country. To this effect, we have requested that the council shares with us their strategic plan so that the reforms department can give proper guidance on the way forward.
“For now we expect the council to recast the reforms, add the new reforms basing on input and then resubmit with a roadmap for implementation with clear timelines.”
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) acting chief executive officer Henry Mereka described the meeting as fruitful.
He said: “It was a fruitful meeting that appreciated the progress being made in implementing our reforms and also that gave constructive direction as to the way forward.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda said the association is in full support of the reforms, including the introduction of electronic gate management systems.
He said FAM already drew up plans to install the electronic gate management system at its facility, the Mpira Stadium at Chiwembe in Blantyre.
Silver Strikers, who own Silver Stadium, are one of the TNM Super League teams championing electronic gate management.
The club’s chief executive officer Thokozani Chimbali said the installation of the electronic gadgets at the stadium has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All the framework for the electronic gate management system was already done. What is remaining is the importation of the gadgets which has been delayed by the grounding of flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.