Defender John Lanjesi put his body on the line to prevent Zimbabwe striker, Knowledge Musona, from scoring again in a game which the Flames lost 3-0 to the Warriors in Harare in 2016, but three years later the Nyasa Big Bullets defender has not been compensated.
In view of this, the Flames captain has taken Football Association of Malawi (Fam) to task for failing to push for his compensation as per Fifa regulations.
“I thrust my right leg out just when Knowledge was about to shoot on target and he ended up hitting my leg instead of the ball. I broke my leg and I was out of action for close to eight months, an injury that deprived me of game bonuses; hence, my push for compensation,” he said.
He said while Fam sent him for medical treatment, the association has been sitting on his demand for compensation despite that he submitted all the papers.
Fam Transfer Matching System Manager, Casper Jangale, admitted that they had not yet pushed for Lanjesi’s compensation but fell short of giving a convincing explanation as to why that is the case.
He said they were pushing for clubs to put their players on medical cover from such injuries and that Fifa only compensates players who are classified as professionals. Lanjesi falls in the category of a professional footballer.
“There is no proper cover for players. We rely on cover which Malawi National Council of Sports and Fifa provides. At the moment, we are seeking direction from the authorities and we are coming up with one [insurance cover],” he said.
He said Lanjesi was then unable to get compensation because he got injured outside the cycle of the then Fifa Club Protection Programme.
“But he will get the help,” Jangale said.
Lanjesi recently also underwent surgery after suffering from an anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee in a match for Bullets against Mlatho Mponela.
He had just returned from a six-week injury lay off after picking a hamstring injury during a national team assignment in May 2018.
After suffering the calf injury during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, Lanjesi proceeded with the Flames to Namibia for Cosafa Cup after being made to believe that it was a minor injury only for further scans to reveal that he had a crack.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, said Fam did not bring to the attention of the council about Lanjesi’s injury.
“The matter was not reported to us. Once on national team duty, players are insured. Once injured, Fam is supposed to report to the council so that we can take the matter to insurance companies,” Mereka said.
Lanjesi also reported the matter to Football Players Association of Malawi (FPAM), and the association’s general secretary, Ernest Mangani, on Monday confirmed the development.
“The incident occurred before he became our member but we are helping him to pursue the matter. We are avoiding dealing with claims that happened before 2017. We contacted Fam through Mr Casper Jangale, and we expect feedback this week,” Mangani said.
“At the moment, when all players are called into national team camp, they are automatically our members because we got a dispensation from Fam that they are covered. If injured, it is not taken as insurance per say but Fam has a compensation package for national team players accessed from Fifa,” he said.
Fam spearheaded FPAM’s formation but its efforts to seek 5 percent cut from each game faced resistance from clubs, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and stadium owners, Mangani said.
With the 5 percent cut, each players was supposed to contribute K5,000 annual to FPAM and access general insurance on injuries.
But now FPAM, according to Mangani, is struggling to register enough members to reach a threshold which can earn them group cover with insurance companies.
“It is unfortunate that we have not reached the appropriate insurance threshold that insurance companies would be able to provide cover. There are 85 members but we need 200 with each player contributing K150,000 each per annum for general insurance cover on injuries,” he said.
Bullets Chief Administration Officer, Albert Chigoga, had not reverted to Malawi News with a response on whether they had pursued the issue of Lanjesi’s injury with Fam and Fifa.
However, Sulom General Secretary, Williams Banda, on Monday said FPAM was independent hence it was supposed to come up with ways of generating money for the insurance cover for the players.
“They might have failed to convince the clubs because the issue of taking gate takings directly attacks the clubs and that is why they might be struggling to breakthrough. However, we are willing to share with them strategies on how they go can about the issue,” Banda said.
Apart from the council’s insurance cover, last year, Fifa extended the insurance policy on players who get hurt on international duty through Club Protection Programme running until 2022.
Under the programme, Fifa General Secretary Fatma Samoura, in a letter to member association such as Fam dated December 20 2018, says clubs are compensated if any of their players are injured while on international duty.
“Under the programme, clubs will be compensated, to a certain extent, if their professional football players are injured due to an accident while on duty with senior representative “A” teams for matches on dates listed in the international match calendar for the period between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2022. Death, permanent disablement and other losses such as medical expenses or the like are not covered,” Samoura says.
Previously, clubs challenged Fifa’s regulations that the teams were responsible for paying players even when they got injured while on national team duty.
Now, Fifa pays up to maximum of 7.5 million euros per player and the compensation rate is calculated by the number of days a player is out of action and is based on his actual club salary.
The maximum daily rate is 20,548 euros. Payments stop on the day the player is back available for duty at his club.
This compensation is only paid when one suffers from an injury during a recognised Fifa window for international matches‚ as well as top tournaments such as World Cup and African Nations Cup.
The insurance is also only for serious injuries that rule out a player out not less than 28 days.
Fifa make payments directly to clubs‚ who have to submit their claims via an internet portal and upload all the medical history.
In the recent past, national team players such as Ishmael Thindwa and Maxwell Chirwa also struggled to get compensation after getting injured on Flames duty.
Peter Kanjere is a versatile Journalist currently working for Times Group as Assistant Editor for The Daily Times.
With vast experience in the industry, he is also an accomplished Sports Analyst, whose exploits in sports reporting and analysis span beyond the length and breadth of the African continent.