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Malawi football offline

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Some foreign-based football players’ agents have urged clubs and sports bodies in Malawi to move with time by owning websites in order to enhance communication and for marketing purposes.

The agents said Malawi is one of the countries whose football is difficult to follow as the use of online platforms has not fully been embraced.

“If you don’t have internet sites, the international sites that compile player database don’t have information to feed these databases, meaning that a club will not bet on Malawian players because they are unaware of the player’s existence or his skills (number of goals, assists, matches played etc). If a player is not an international for the country he will never be visible,” Mozambique-based agent Bruno Morgado, said, adding:

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“Some of the main databases in football like www.transfermarket.com play a fundamental role in scouting and acquisition of players, especially by the European countries. The only way for us [agents] is what we normally do, which is to go and watch players during matches. But like in Malawi, even to know when the matches are held is extremely difficult. So, we rely on local informants,” said Morgado, who is an agent for Portugal-based Richard Mbulu.

As the world is advancing technologically, Malawi football is lagging behind. Football Association of

Malawi (Fam) had its website hacked some months ago and even before that, the website was rarely updated.

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Such is also the case with Super League of Malawi (Sulom ) and other big teams such as Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers who are yet to launch websites. In the absence of the websites, social media platforms are the only option.

But the social media platforms are increasingly subjected to abuse, thereby reducing their credibility.

In other countries, teams invest heavily in websites as a marketing tool and also to expand reach to global fan base.

Swaziland-based agent, Dingane Maduma, said he has had problems dealing with Malawian clubs as it has been difficult for him to follow the local game.

“We are in the 21st century so Malawian football authorities have to jack up.

This is not the time where you need to be travelling from one country to another just to watch games. Information has to be available on websites, videos of in-form players have to be uploaded on You-tube so that agents can have easy job. But to sell a Malawian player through these means is never easy,” Maduma said.

An official for Angolan Petroleos de Luanda, who recently faced Masters Security in the Confederation of African Football Cup, lamented that they had difficulties to study their Malawian opponents as Masters’ official team news was not available on the internet. Bullets Chief Executive Officer, Fleetwood Haiya, whose club is the first to go commercial, said the launch of a website is one of their priorities this year.

“I can promise here that before the end of this month, Bullets will have a website.

However, I cannot say that we are losing in terms of revenue or opportunities because we don’t have a website but I would say that the website will create more opportunities where possible. The big issue [of launching a website] is to strengthen relationships with foreign clubs that can be acquiring our players,” Haiya said.

Sulom President, Innocent Bottomani, also agreed that websites are vital in running modern football.

“We have been talking about marketing our game so that cannot be achieved if you don’t embrace modern technologies. In two years time, Sulom will have its professional website,” said Bottomani, who recently announced that he would not seek re-election beyond the end of his term next year.

Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, promised to improve on management of the website once it is back.

“If we are to be commercially viable and become attractive in order to sell the talent that we have, we need to expose our activities, our products by going online and show them to the world,” Gunda said.

Football, just like the rest of the sectors, cannot thrive minus technology; hence, local footballers are like playing in the dark since their talent is hidden from the global platform.

As the administrators make promises that they are doing something about putting the local game online, it is the footballers who are being denied opportunities .

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