- Says he will soon decide on whether to seek re-election
Yet again. Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu says he will make his position known in the next few months on whether he will seek re-election during December polls, effectively drifting from his earlier stand that he would quit.
Nyamilandu, who has been at the helm of FAM for the past 16 years, has all along insisted that he will not contest.
However, in a fresh interview, the FAM chiefs signalled that he has not made up his mind yet.
“I will make my position known in the next few months. Please bear with me,” Nyamilandu said.
Before his recent sentiments, the FAM leader had told Weekend Nation twice that he would not contest.
“I won’t seek re-election. I am only waiting for my time to leave office,” he said in his most recent reassurance in April this year.
His shift in his stand has, however, attracted mixed reactions from some FAM affiliates, the people that vote during the elections.
Northern Region Football Association chairperson Lameck Khonje described it as unfortunate.
“Don’t you have on record what he said last time?” he wondered. “It will be unfortunate if he changes this time around.”
Khonje said he would not comment further as he was seeking for an audience with Nyamilandu to hear his stand.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba stated that if Nyamilandu decides to stand, they will listen to his agenda and those of other aspirants before deciding who to support.
“Let’s wait for his final declaration. If he does stand, our association will weigh his manifesto and those of other aspirants,” he said.
“If there will be a better candidate than Walter in the upcoming elections and our committee decides that we support that particular candidate, we will do that,” he said.
Central Region Football Association chairperson Austin Ajawa said he was surprised with Nyamilandu’s new stand.
“All along we knew that he will not vie for the position. But anyway, we are not utterly shocked because we can not read the thoughts of other people,” he said.
Ajawa has said they will anxiously be waiting for Nyamilandu’s final stand.
“Then we shall see whether to support him or not if he chooses to extend his bid,” said Ajawa.
If Nyamilandu decides to contest, he will likely face his vice-president James Mwenda, his right hand man, who he has reportedly fallen out with.
Some affiliates have publicly endorsed him saying he has the passion of football having served at different levels including regional and national.
In an interview, Mwenda said he has been approached by “a number of affiliates” but he was “consulting his family and associates.”
“I haven’t made up my mind yet. In the next few weeks I will declare my position,” he said.
So far, only Karonga United chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga Banda has declared his interest to vie for the country’s top football seat.
Daud Ntanthiko and fellow executive member Jabbar Alide have since declared their interest to contest for first vice-presidency while Khonje is set to face incumbent Othaniel Hara for the post of second vice-president.
During his reign, Nyamilandu has improved football infrastructure and structures. Currently, FAM has an office complex at Chiwembe in Blantyre where there’s also a hotel that generates revenue and accommodate players during camping.
He has also managed to win the hearts of the corporate world as companies are coming forth to sponsor football competitions at professional and youth level.
But he has come under criticism for the national team’s failure, having seen the Flames only qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals once in the past 16 years.
Apart from being a member of Fifa Council, Nyamilandu is also an executive committee member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa).