By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
A group calling itself Concerned Citizens has given Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu and Malawi national football team Coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) seven days to resign or face unspecified action.
In a letter addressed to Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Fam and Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS), the group has asked the Nyamilandu-led Fam Executive Committee to pave the way for new leaders.
“We do not expect any member within the current Fam Executive Committee to take over from him [Nyamilandu] as they have also presided over dwindling standards of football in this country together with Nyamilandu. All they know is pocket[ing] allowances on foreign trips as leaders of delegations for national teams and clubs that enter Caf competitions, but fail to fix our football woes,” reads part of the letter from the group’s leaders Ajasi Kalowe and Henry Gome.
The group also petitioned Parliament on the same matter and the Social Welfare Committee will summon Nyamilandu and RVG this year.
Fam also defused a protest march which the group wanted to hold in Limbe, Blantyre, saying the association would host a football conference to address stakeholders’ concerns. The conference is yet to take place.
In the interim, the committee has proposed that Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, should be in charge of Fam until the next elections in December 2019.
However, Gunda is not an elected official but a permanent employee who belongs to another arm of the association, the secretariat.
Nyamilandu and Gunda were not readily available for their comments Tuesday as we went to press.
The group has also asked the ministry to dissolve the association if it fails to step down.
However, Fifa prohibits any sort of interference in the affairs of its affiliates such as Fam and doing so can see Malawi teams banned from all international competitions.
Among other things, the group has also accused MNCS of failing to monitor Fam. The association is, locally, affiliated to the Sports Council which is a government parastatal.
“As the government entity that is mandated to superintend sports matters in the country, we feel you are not doing enough holding these sports associations, especially Fam, accountable. Send auditors to Fam to establish how funds are used at the country’s governing body and how remittance of gate revenue is done amid increased cases of theft, fraud and financial mismanagement allegations,” reads the letter in part.
In reaction to the matter, MNCS Executive Secretary, George Jana, said there was need for a holistic approach to address domestic football challenges.
“If things are not well, people try to find reasons for the problems. But I do not think it is proper to blame the current administration for all the problems. As stakeholders, we need to engage each other so that we find solutions to the problems,” Jana said Tuesday.
Under RVG, the Flames have turned into a laughing stock on the continent, having only won two games, 10 draws and eight losses in 20 games.
The Flames missed Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification after losing 2-1 to Comoros Islands in November 2018.
Following the loss, the Flames are bottom of Group B of the Afcon qualifiers with just four points from five games, six points behind leaders Morocco. Cameroon and Comoros are second and third, respectively, with eight and five points, respectively.
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