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Sports

Ball dribbled in MPs court

To lobby for increased Flames funding

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CONCERNED—Mereka

Members of Parliament have pledged to lobby for increased funds for Flames ahead of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals slated for Cameroon next year and World Cup qualifiers.

This was disclosed after Malawi National Council of Sports acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, met the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs in Lilongwe Friday.

In the proposed K1.9 trillion 2021/22 National Budget, Sports Council has been allocated K1.6 billion for its programmes.

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The Flames do not have a special vote in the national budget but received grant from Sports Council through Football Association of Malawi (Fam).

Chairperson of the committee, Savel Kafwafwa, promised to engage the Ministry of Finance to consider increasing allocation for Sports Council.

“We noted several challenges but of urgent need is the funds for Flames. The team made us proud after qualifying for Afcon finals so they need more funds to prepare well for the tournament,” Kafwafwa said.

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“The Flames need K726 million for the competitions so we believe it would have made more sense if the funds had appeared in the national budget.”

Last year, K300 million was allocated to Fam as grant which was almost the same in the proposed budget.

The Flames require at least K1 billion for Afcon finals and World Cup qualifiers, which will begin in September this year after they were postponed this month due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Fam recently indicated that it will require K575 million to prepare for Afcon finals whereas K600 million will carter for World Cup qualifiers.

The association’s general secretary, Alfred Gunda, was not available yesterday.

During the meeting, Mereka highlighted to the committee Flames’ third Afcon qualification as one of the senior side’s achievements.

“We have several activities lined up in this financial year so we need a lot of resources,” Mereka said.

Mereka also told the parliamentarians that Sports Council requires K450 million for preparations of Region Five Games and K135 million for Tokyo Olympic Games.

Sports Council has also announced plans to introduce National Schools competitions, which at the end, each district will come up with select teams in both football and netball.

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