The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a grant of $13 000 (about K10 million) to help the Malawi women national football team prepare for the Cosafa Women’s Championship in South Africa next month.
The grant is part of the $40 000 (about K30 million) which Football Association of Malawi (FAM) through the Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) asked from the IOC to help the team prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In an interview yesterday, MOC administrative manager Naomi Chinatu confirmed the approval but said they were waiting for IOC to disburse the funds.
“The funds are part of the Team Support Grant which is given to teams to help them prepare for the Olympic Games. FAM said they wanted to use the Cosafa tournament as part of the team’s preparations; hence, the grant,” she said.
Chinatu said the K30 million will be spread across the years leading up to the Olympic Games in Japan.
“This is the first grant Malawi women’s team will receive after IOC approved the proposal last year. Next year IOC will fund the team’s activity which FAM will choose. The same will happen the following year,” she said.
Reacting to the development, National Women Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Severia Chalira hailed the grant as a major breakthrough.
“Previously, we used to rely on FAM only, but now it is good that doors are opening up. We can only hope that the girls will get better with this support we are getting,” she said.
Chalira said that their total budget for camping is pegged at K20 million with the shortfall to be squared up by FAM.
“That amount will carter for accommodation, food and allowances. So, it is like IOC has subsidised our budget by 50 percent which is really a positive development,” she said.
Chalira also said the team is expected to start camping this week in readiness for the Cosafa contest.
“We have been identifying the players through the league which is currently underway. We will release the squad this week and there after camping will start,” she said.