Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu says Confederation of African Football (CAF) leadership’s backing was one of the key reasons behind his recent Fifa Council election.
Nyamilandu defied the odds to beat his South African counterpart Danny Jordaan during the second round of voting with 35 votes against 18 during a CAF congress in Sharm-El-Sheikh‚ Egypt last Sunday.
He was responding to a question on the secret behind his success.
“The critical one was my alignment with CAF leadership, I had to get the endorsement of CAF president Ahmad Ahmad long before the campaign started,” he said. “I have been seen as a revolutionary, having been instrumental in taking out [former CAF president] Issa Hayatou and putting in Ahmad. I was in the forefront of that cause and so most delegates wanted someone they could trust.”
“Trusting in Gold Almighty was also very key. My prophet David Mbewe encouraged me to stand.He is the one who told me that he is seeing a vision of a new office and by then, the [Fifa] position was not even vacant because we only got to know about the position at the  Fifa World Cup. In fact, my initial plans were to stand for CAF executive committee election for the position left by Kalusha Bwalya.
“I didn’t know that the Lord had bigger plans for me. During the campaign period, I overcame a lot of obstacles through prayer and one of them was the planned demonstrations to push for my removal because I learnt later on that they were organised to tarnish my image so that I do not stand for the Fifa position,” he said.
The FAM president said winning against big personalities such as Jordaan was God’s plan.
“The other factor was, of course, good strategy which was based on a candidate who would truly represent the interests of Africa, considering past experiences.
“For instance, when Morocco lost the 2026 Fifa World Cup bid, I was one of those who did not regret my stand and I was even interviewed by Al Jazeera and BBC while others were swayed by money power. So, most of the leaders were looking at someone who could represent them without shame and I stood for Africa,” he said.
Nyamilandu also said his experience in football, having started off as a player to club administration then to association and regional levels. “This coupled with my experience, also helped his cause”.
“I was the only candidate with most experience as a FA [Football Association] president and that was also very applealing to delegates.
“I partnered strongly with Cecafa [Confederation of East and Central African Football Associations] as well as West African zone,” he said.
He also said a good working relationship with African football leaders helped his cause.
“So, even though I lost at the Cosafa elections to choose the region’s candidate, I did not give up and made it clear that this was not over, we would meet in Sharm-El-Sheikh,” he said.
According to an analysis by ghanasoccernet.com, among other reasons, Jordaan lost because he did not consult all the major power brokers in the game.
“Jordaan has always cut a figure of an arrogant person among several African football officials who view him as an elitist and this continues to haunt him. It was also a punishment for not supporting the African [Morocco] bid for the 2026 World Cup.
“[Again] despite an election to decide who would represent Cosafa lobby on the ballot paper, two candidates defied that election to file their nomination papers to contest and that exposed the broken Cosafa front. Even though Nyamilandu and Seychelles’ Elvis Chetty are from the southern African regional bloc that decided to back Jordaan after their election their decision to defy that vote showed that [the body] did not have a united front,” reads part of the article.
It also faulted Jordaan on his failure to build alliances.