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Ailing players and Fam

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has its way of doing things; not everything that is done at Chiwembe can please everyone.

Perhaps Fam has learnt from the legendary Peter Tosh who sings in ‘Lessons in My Life’ that “you cannot please everybody so you better please yourself.”

Yeah of course, Fam is not expected to please everyone all the time but at least it should please the majority sometimes.

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Despite saying all that, Fam is sometimes criticised unfairly regarding players’ welfare. The situation is worse when a former national team player is in dire need; Fam officials are called names.

But Fam is not solely to blame for the predicament that former national team players find themselves in. If Fam were to be blamed, it is its failure to enforce change which would among others ask players to have personal managers – who will manage both their career and personal life.

There are a number of players who have been ill-advised in the past; despite having the chance to play in Europe, they came back home to display the little they accumulated, grab our women and of course kudya tchipisi cha pa chiwaya. These are the things you can freely enjoy in Malawi but not Europe – you cannot get the three in one menu.

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I am hugely inspired by the likes of Ojukwu Malunga, Thom Milanzie, Chance Gondwe who used their little resources to make sure that the welfare of players should improve.

The Players Association of Malawi, which was indeed long overdue, was formed but the passionate former players were not considered. Whatever criteria was used, one wonders whether Fam was not following the activities of the former players who did fairly well – with the resources they had – than what the present committee will ever make.

Working on meagre resources, the former players knocked at several doors looking for help. That help did back home to display the little they accumulated, grab our women and of course kudya tchipisi cha pa chiwaya. These are the things you can freely enjoy in Malawi but not Europe – you cannot get the three in one menu.

I am hugely inspired by the likes of Ojukwu Malunga, Thom Milanzie, Chance Gondwe who used their little resources to make sure that the welfare of players should improve.

The Players Association of Malawi, which was indeed long overdue, was formed but the passionate former players were not considered. Whatever criteria was used, one wonders whether Fam was not following the activities of the former players who did fairly well – with the resources they had – than what the present committee will ever make.

Working on meagre resources, the former players knocked at several doors looking for help. That help did not come but the former players showed no signs of back-tracking. At times, Ojukwu would find well-wishers to print letters, they visited media houses and organised awareness campaigns. Their call to change things on the local scene was appreciated by a lot of people but they still lacked support from the mother body.

Few years ago former Big Bullets player Douglas Chirambo died. Talk of players’ welfare and players’ medical scheme resurfaced with football authorities being blamed for not doing enough. Medical Aid Society of Malawi offered to work closely with local clubs to make sure that the plan was implemented. Was that done? It is a question to be answered another day too.

After operating for a while without noticeable success, Ojukwu and friends started engaging Fam. It had already been suggested elsewhere that the players’ association was long overdue and Fam had a plan which it would soon implement.

While Ojukwu and friends were waiting for a word from Fam, they just learnt from the media that the association had been formed and none of the active members in the old movement was selected.

Surely, I do not expect every former player to be in the association. It was only reasonable that others who were already passionate about issues of players’ welfare be incorporated in the new association for the new members to learn from what had already been done.

By leaving Ojukwu and friends out, the association will be starting all over again and likely the players’ welfare body would repeat what had been discussed or done by the former players. In short, the old movement had set the ball rolling.

I feel sorry for Ojukwu and friends who did all they could to raise awareness of players welfare in Malawi. Few years from now, these former players who wanted to bring change will not be remembered for their effort. These are my heroes and I should tell them that they did not work in vain.

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