‘More than football’

Fam boss opens up about academy partnership

PRODUCTS—Some of the academy’s players

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president, Walter Nyamilandu has said his football academy is discussing with individuals and institutions for possible partnership.

“Talks with a potential partner are at an advanced stage. We are hoping that we will be able to seal a deal in the new season. However, the door is also still open to other interested sponsors. I have no doubt that more will come once they are able to see that the products of the academy are finally attracting interest of foreign clubs,” Nyamilandu said.

The former Flames and Be Forward Wanderers centre back said the Academy was different from the rest because it gives the kids more than football skills.


“It equips them with vocational skills so that they have plan B after active football. The academy also teaches Bible skills so that the players have good discipline which is key to success of the players,” Nyamilandu said.

The Fifa Council Member said the academy was fancying the style of Spanish giants Barcelona.

“Our philosophy is to play football the Barcelona way. It is called total football. I want the players to have a real football brain where their bodies are inextricably connected to the ball like a magnet. We want the players to not just win matches but they should win while playing good entertaining football,” he said.


Among others, the academy will equip youngsters with language and ICT skills.

“Teaching the youngsters different languages such as French, apart from English, is to ensure that language is not a barrier for them to play and excel overseas. West African players are able to play in France because of their ability to speak the French language. Therefore, the language skills is also a way of offering vocational training. Football is a short career. So to make sure that players earn a living after active football, we decided to give them vocational training in languages and ICT skills,” Nyamilandu said.

Currently, the academy has started with under 15 kids but it is planning to have three streams of under 12, 15 and 17.

To qualify for the academy, players undergo rigorous scrutiny before their selection.

“We organise a talent identification tournament featuring players from around Blantyre. We have scouts in each zone of Blantyre who organise teams that play in talent identification tournament. We select players from such tournaments. Some players are directly recommended to us by scouts then we put them under trials. If they impress they are recruited,” Nyamilandu said.

Recently the academy announced plans to supply video clips of the academy’s products to international scouts, academies and clubs.

“We live in a digital age and we have to move with times. We realise that we have to systematically keep information and skills of our players. We are in the process of preparing the video clips showing skills and bios of the players. Unfortunately, the coronavirus affected the process. Having players’ profiles on video clips will help to easily market the players without the players physically visiting overseas,” Nyamilandu said.

The academy’s owner reiterated that setting up the institution was his childhood dream.

“My life has been around football from a tender age at Nchalo with Sugar Babies and then Sucoma FC before proceeding to University of Malawi and beyond. After university, I turned professional with Nomads where I was recruited into the national team. When I retired from active football, I entered into football administration at Nomads which prepared me for the big position of Fam president. Now I am also Fifa Council Member and Caf Executive Member.

“As you can see from the brief background, football is part of my DNA and it has made me what I am today. I established the academy as a way of giving back to society particularly the football fraternity,” he said.

Nyamilandu believes his Fifa Council Member post has given him connections to further promote the academy.

“I am also keen to open overseas markets for our players using my Fifa Council connections. I want players from the Academy to play overseas which will benefit our national team,” he said.

The Academy is non-residential and trains twice a week under the supervision of two coaches Chancy Msema and Joseph Kamwendo who are fully employed.

“The players get refreshments during training and are provided with transport. I also provide training equipment, training kits, match uniforms, boots and footballs from my pocket,” he said.

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