Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) has swallowed its pride and taken the blame for the poor organisation of a recent Confederation of African Athletics Southern Africa (CAASR) Championship in Blantyre.
The local organising committee’s lack of foresight embarrassed the country at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre in February after it transpired that there were no medals for winners of the competition, which also pooled athletes from countries such as Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
In view of this AAM president, Godfrey Phiri, said they wanted to turn a new leaf when taking up the blame.
“In all fairness, it was wrong to blame Malawi National Council of Sports for the incidents that marred the championship. We accepted to host the competition at the eleventh hour. Initially, we came to the rescue of Seychelles who withdrew. We panicked at the eleventh hour and we overlooked some things that matter,” he said.
Phiri apologised to the nation and the council, in particular, for embarrassing the country due to poor organisation.
“Of course, the championship was a success in terms of winning medals, but we failed to give it much colour to befit the occasion. We promise to do much better next time,” he said.
However, Phiri could not state whether the association would refund about K1.5 million it received from the council despite being receiving the same from CAASR.
“We are sailing in troubled waters financially; we need to see how best we can handle it,” he said.
The council’s executive secretary, George Jana, said it was important to put the record straight.
“On our part, we supported them but they did not appreciate our efforts,” he said.
After the competition, a blame game ensued between AAM and Malawi National Council of Sports.
AAM blamed the council for delaying to release funds for the championship, while the Sports Council faulted the athletics body for failing to follow procedures.
The association eventually claimed that, during the day-long regional championship, medals run out in Blantyre shops, but the shops disputed this.
Eventually, the council’s executive secretary, George Jana, revealed that AAM officials pressed for hard cash for buying the medals and never pursued the matter when the council insisted on paying the medal shops through cheques directly.
Few months ago, the council advised the association to take the blame for the mess that marred the championship.
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