Mnister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama has asked Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) and stakeholders to treat all sport disciplines equally, saying “sport is not football alone”.
During his familiarisation tour of MNCS offices and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) in Blantyre yesterday, the minister said the council and stakeholders should not treat football as the priority sport, arguing the country has other sport disciplines such as cricket, hockey and boxing that can contribute to social and economic development.
Msungama said his statement follows calls on his plans for football development.
He said: “All associations are equal and we should not focus on football alone. In the past few days, I had thousands of calls from the public asking me about the commencement of the football season. But what we should know is that sport is not only football. This tendency must stop.”
Msungama added that it is sad to note that there is a tendency that when a sports minister is appointed, what comes first in most people’s minds is football.
“Of course, I love football as I support Silver Strikers FC locally and English Premier League side Arsenal FC internationally, but get me right, I am not Minister of Football but Sports. I feel sad to see disciplines such as boxing having sub-standard rings but all we talk about are problems that football faces in the country,” said the minister.
He said he is determined to achieve his given targets within the five-month probation that President Lazarus Chakwera gave his Cabinet recently.
In his remarks, MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said they have welcomed the minister’s directive.
“In fact, promoting all sports codes is what we do and the Minister’s sentiments give us leverage to even do more on this aspect,” he said.
Mereka added that there might have been a lot of interest in football among stakeholders due to the sport’s popularity; hence, there is need for the enhancement of civic education to make everyone understand that all 43 disciplines that are in the council’s fold deserve equal treatment.