Malawi National Football Team players and officials will smile all the way to the bank as they expect to pocket over K4.2 million in game bonuses and allowances after qualifying for the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon.
This is the first time for the Flames to make it into the knockout stages of the continental showpiece.
Malawi progressed as one of the four best third-placed teams without kicking the ball after Egypt and Nigeria won their respective group matches on Wednesday night.
Qualifying for the competition’s knockout stages has earned each player about K1.2 million from Football Association of Malawi (Fam) in external travel compensation while the win over Zimbabwe and the drawn match against Senegal will earn the players K2 million each.
The players will also receive an additional K100,000 each per day as Fam’s token of appreciation for qualifying for the last 16.
Fam had pledged to pay the players K1 million each for a win or draw, subject to qualifying for the knockout stages.
The players who started the Zimbabwe match will also receive K1 million each while those who were on the bench will pocket half the amount, courtesy of State President Lazarus Chakwera.
The First Citizen had challenged the players to beat Senegal and receive the money but Presidential Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda said Chakwera would still honour his pledge despite the match ending in a barren draw.
Kasunda said the President had also sent a message to the team congratulating it for making it to the last 16.
The message reads: “Flames, congratulations. You have made history by qualifying into the round-of-16 in the Afcon tournament for the first time ever. You have shown us that if we work together, fight together, support one another, there is no mountain we cannot climb as a nation. We are super proud of you and we are all behind you. Go Flames! Moto kuti buu!”
According to Fam’s statement dated January 8 2022, the players will also share half of the qualification bonus from the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
The country’s football governing body will retain the other half for the team’s operational costs.
Caf is yet to confirm the amount and when it will be paid out to football associations whose teams have made it into the last 16.
Fam also committed to remit half of the quarterfinal, semifinal and final proceeds to the team.
The association’s president Walter Nyamilandu said the players deserved to be rewarded for making Malawi proud.
“We have made history. This is the first time for the Flames to reach the last 16 of the Afcon. We owe this to the players. They engaged the extra gear to go all the way to the knockout stages. We commend football fans for being patient with the team throughout the years,” Nyamilandu said.
Flames Captain Limbikani Mzava said the players were excited with the incentives.
“The news is good and encouraging to all of us. We have been playing as a team and we are still hoping for good results in the coming games. We will give out our all for the sake of mother Malawi,” Mzava said.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.