Football Association of Malawi (Fam) yesterday dropped a bombshell by announcing that it would withdraw the Flames from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and African Nations Championship (Chan).
At its Executive Committee meeting held in Lilongwe on Saturday, the association agreed to pull out of Chan by March 2017 and Afcon by April 2017 due to lack of funds.
Fam, which has over the years made such pronouncements only to u-turn, would pay a heavy fine to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) if they go ahead to withdraw.
The association has also suspended its plans to recruit the coach for the Flames after the government rejected the proposal to hire an expatriate mentor.
“Fam would like to inform the general public and all its stakeholders that it is fully aware of the negative implications including fines and suspension such withdrawal may attract. However, in its consideration, such a withdrawal and its negative implications cannot be avoided looking at the current level of desperation that the senior national football team is in terms of funding and overall,” Fam General Secretary, Alfred
Gunda, stated in a press release.
“The immediate recruitment of the Malawi National Senior Football Team coach will be suspended until such a time that the government has adequate resources to fund such a recruitment and also for the reasons outlined in (iii) below. The current huge gaps and shortfalls of our Senior National Football Team can only be addressed through recruitment of a well-trained and highly experienced expatriate coach.”
According to Gunda, after several discussions and consultations, it was clear that the government would not be able to provide funds for the team for its participation in Chan and Afcon.
Gunda said the Lilongwe indaba also agreed that the association should hire a qualified director of football responsible for development programmes with funding from Fifa and Caf.
The director will also be in charge of training local coaches.
In an interview yesterday, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Simon Mbvundula, said he needed to consult before commenting on Fam’s decision.
“We need to know why they have decided to pull out. On hiring a coach, I do not think it might be one of the reasons for withdrawing from the competitions because previously we have been participating in such tournaments with local coaches,” Mbvundula said.
The development comes just a day after TNM also suspended its sponsorship extension talks for the Super League.
The withdrawal might leave the Flames inactive for two years.
Football analyst Enos Chatama Sunday urged the government and Fam to find better ways of assisting the team.
The Flames were expected to face Madagascar on the weekend of April 20 in the Chan qualifiers.
The team was drawn against Cameroun and Morocco in the Afcon qualifiers.
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