Embattled Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday blasted his critics who are calling for his resignation due to the national team’s poor performance, arguing that he does not play football; hence, he is not responsible.
After failing to hold the press conference last week, the FAM boss decided to hold it a day after blocking concerned football fans from marching to Mpira House in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre, to present their petition.
But still for the first time, there was heavy riot police presence at the FAM offices, a development Nyamilandu said was for security reasons.
Flanked by general secretary Alfred Gunda and competitions and media manager Gomezgani Zakazaka, Nyamilandu first read a prepared statement to over 50 journalists as he was cheered on by supporters that intruded the press conference such as Isaac Jomo Osman, Stone Mwamadi and Yona Malunga, before taking questions from the members of the media.
Responding to call for his resignation, Nyamilandu said he was democratically elected by FAM affiliates and that he cannot resign because of national team performance.
He said:“Ntchito yanga ndikupanga support national team kuti ngati ikupita ku mpikisano ikonzekere bwino. Imenye ma friendlies komanso isapange withdraw. Ine ndapanga ntchito yanga. Makobikiri ndawapeza. National team iyi inalibe makobiri. Pano timapanga sponsor tokha a FAM. Over K300 million yomwe tapanga pump a FAM. Ine mbali yanga sindinachite? Ine ndimakhala mu ground kumamenya mpira? Munandiwona ndili pa golo? No!”
The FAM boss condemned the march organised by concerned supporters and claimed there are some individuals within football circles that are after his position.
He described the planned march as a ‘coup’, saying those behind it are afraid he will stand again and beat them at next year’s FAM elections, despite his repeated stance that he is not seeking new mandate.
“I have to remind all stakeholders that I have a constitutional mandate to lead the association until December 2019 and I will see off the rest of my term as entrusted by FAM general assembly.
“With regard to the 2019 candidature, I already made my stand a while ago that I have no interest in standing again and I will make it very clear once more at the forthcoming general assembly in December 2018,” Nyamilandu said.
He said those behind the demonstrations should have followed the football structures to voice their concerns.
“FAM has proper structures at all levels of the game and we advise all stakeholders to use the available structures to present their grievances other than taking to the streets,” he said.
Nyamilandu also threw his weight behind Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG), saying the Belgian will see out his contract through because he has identified talent and transformed the team to levels of Barcelona’s style of play.
However, he admitted that the results have so far not been forthcoming.
Said Nyamilandu: “FAM cannot solve the challenges facing our game on its own. We have, therefore, noted that there is need for promotion of robust engagement with key stakeholders, including people who are outside the mainstream football structures. To solve these challenges, we need to provide a platform to interact, share ideas and solicit feedback from those who harbour goodwill for the game of football in Malawi.
“As such, FAM will create an annual football summit to bring together all key players in the game among them affiliates, government, media, players, administrators, technical personnel, supporters, analysts, and sponsors to openly deliberate and engage in a constructive manner on how to further develop the game of football in Malawi.”
Commenting on Nyamilandu’s statements, one of FAM critics, football analyst Charles Nyirenda, said the FAM president was contradicting himself.
“I thought he is the one who hired RVG? Why would he run way from being responsible if the coach is not delivering? Why is he calling for the football summit if he is not responsible for the national team’s performance?
Nyirenda also condemned the move to block the march.
“That is a constitutional right of every Malawian regardless of whether the issue is about football or not. FAM has no right to stop marches,” he said.