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Mario Mariani Marinica chokes Fam

Hotel bill hits K17 million after discount

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Alfred Gunda

Football Association of Malawi (Fam)’s delay to secure a house for its Technical Director (TD) Mario Mariani Marinica has cost the association over K17 million in hotel bills, Malawi News can reveal.

However, Fam insists the association is saving a lot through the arrangement.

Marinica has been lodging at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre since his arrival in November last year.

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Sources confided in us that Marinica has been staying in a room worth K115,000 daily for five months and that, initially, the bill was estimated to be between K24 million and K30 million.

“Actually, the estimated bill was in the range of K24 million to around K30 million but, through a special arrangement we made with the hotel, the figure was reduced. It would have been wise had the association secured a permanent residence [house] for the Technical Director.

“Once the decision was made to hire him, the association should have started looking for his permanent residence. If that were the case, this would not have happened,” said the source.

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The source added that the initial plan was for the TD to be staying in a hotel for two months to give Fam ample time to secure a house for Marinica.

“If he had lodged at the hotel in November and December, the situation would have been understandable because, that time, he was new to the country. Save for the times he travelled for assignments such as Airtel Top 8 Cup games and national team duty in Saudi Arabia and Cameroon, the TD has been staying at the hotel. He is a full-time employee and needs a permanent home,” said the source.

Additionally, the source claimed that the bill does not include money spent on food and other services at the hotel.

However, Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda could neither confirm nor deny the amount of money spent on hotel bills for Marinica.

“Business wise, it makes sense for him to stay at a hotel than a house. Through this arrangement we are saving a lot of money because we are avoiding bills for other amenities. For those that are reasonable they will understand us that this arrangement is viable as we aren’t paying for several services like security and DStv among others,” Gunda said.

He promised Malawi News to return with details and amount of money they are saving monthly.

Ironically, Fam has been calling for financial support and, yet, some of its recent actions suggest otherwise.

The association irked Malawians when it picked five heads of affiliate bodies to Cameroon as its Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals guests. Fam reportedly spent about K14 million on the officials.

Recently, Fam disclosed that it was being owed about K33 million in unfulfilled pledges made during the national football team’s fundraising drive ahead of the recent 2021 finals in Cameroon.

The association further indicated it would publish a full list of those who have lived up to their promises and those that have not within 21 days.

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