Yona Malunga pleads for intervention
Self-proclaimed Malawi National Football Team chief supporter Yona ‘Green’ Malunga has asked football stakeholders to intervene and stop a group dubbed ‘Concerned Citizens of Ndirande Township’ from holding its planned demonstrations.
Malunga was reacting to reports that the group is planning to march from Ndirande Township to Football Association of Malawi (Fam) offices in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre, if the association’s president Walter Nyamilandu does not resign by April 18.
The former Mighty Mukuru Wanderers supporters chairperson specifically asked Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire and Malawi National Council of Sports to bring both parties together.
“I do not think holding demonstrations will change anything. We need to look at all issues affecting the Flames critically.
“I hope the Minister of Sports and officials from Sports Council will intervene in the matter. If these people demonstrate, it will be bad for football. It can scare away potential sponsors because chances of things getting ugly are high,” he said.
Malunga said the group should not focus on demonstrations but rather concentrate on empowering their candidate ahead of Fam elections slated for December.
“We, as fans, do not vote and should not tarnish the image of the sport by bringing threats which can damage our football,” he said.
However, a member of the group, Precious Zulu, said they will not relent but force Nyamilandu to resign.
“It is our right to demonstrate. We intend to hold peaceful demonstrations. We will submit our request to demonstrate to the District Commissioner in Blantyre on Tuesday [today],” he said.
Zulu denied that they are being bankrolled by officials who are interested in challenging Nyamilandu at the association’s polls.
“We want change. The standards are going down. We should not get carried away with the Round-of-16 finish at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
“If our standards were progressing, then we would have qualified for next year’s finals. As things stand, we cannot qualify,” he said.
The development follows Flames’ back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations Group D qualifiers losses, having gone down to Egypt 4-0 at Bingu National Stadium and 2-0 to the Pharaohs in Cairo.
Nyamilandu told this paper that he was expecting the worst.
“I am not surprised and, in fact, I am expecting the worst because it is the same group that was sponsored to carry hateful messages through placards and banners and to chant death threats against me at BNS.
“I am not moved at all and I am on my guard against any plot to damage my reputation or cause bodily harm to me. I will not be forced do things under duress or to act out of fear,” he is quoted as saying.
Mkandawire could not be reached while MNCS Public Relations and Communications Officer Edgar Ntulumbwa said the issue is not within their jurisdiction.
“We, as council, deal with issues concerning sports associations and we do not deal with issues concerning individuals,” he said.
Currently, Egypt is leading in Group D with nine points whereas Guinea lie on second position with the same number of points.