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Fam digs deeper

To spend over K200 million on Ivory Coast matches

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Alfred Gunda

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has said it will likely spend about K211 million specifically on the back-to-back 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers against Ivory Coast.

The Flames host the Elephants at Orlando Stadium in South Africa on Friday before the return leg in Benin three days later.

Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda said the government had committed to provide funds to the team.

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“Let me make it clear that we will spend more than K200 million on the two matches only. We are glad that we got commitment from the government and the team is expected to leave on Wednesday [today],” Gunda said.

Gunda said the K211 million is for team’s preparations, air tickets, accommodation, food and other match details.

By hosting Ivory Coast in South Africa, the association is also responsible for all match details including security and match officials.

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The association will spend K9.5 million on hiring the pitch.

For the first leg only, the association will spend over K27 million on air tickets and external allowances.

Additionally, Fam will also settle Ivory Costs, take care of match officials and transport for the two teams while in South Africa.

Gunda also said there was no need to panic on logistical arrangements of the match.

“We have our guys on the ground in South Africa. Everything is going on well. We also hope it will be easy this time considering this is the second match we are playing at Orlando Stadium,” Gunda said.

For the trip to Benin, the association will spend over K30 million on air tickets.

Ministry of Youth and Sports spokesperson Allie Kalichero said the government had already made commitment to support the team.

“We got assurance from the Ministry of Finance and we are just waiting. I will not be able to disclose other details,” he said.

Fam organised a golf tournament at Lilongwe Golf Club aimed at raising funds for the team. A total of K73.4 million was realised through the tournament.

Flames coach Meck Mwase has named a 24-member squad for the matches.

Local players are expected to fly out of the country this morning.

Tiraspol Sheriff defender Charles Petro, Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango, Baroka FC duo Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Junior and Flames Captain Limbikani Mzava are in the squad.

Former Flames midfielder Sherry Msuku said both Malawi and Ivory Coast have assembled good teams.

“On paper, Ivory Coast are favourites but the Flames are capable of causing an upset. I hope our players will show great character so that they get a good result,” he said.

Ivory Coast Coach Patrice Beaumelle has named a 30-member squad to face Malawi.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha has been recalled alongside Arsenal star Nicholas Pepe and Trabzonspor striker Gervinho.

The trio missed the first two matches of the qualifiers against Mozambique and Cameroon.

The Elephants lead Group D with four points from two matches whereas Cameroon are second with three points, at par with third-placed Malawi. Mozambique anchor the group with one point.

Meanwhile, Mozambique Football Federation has disclosed that it yet to make a final decision on the venue for their home match against Malawi slated for November 16 2021.

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