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National football teams spent over half billion on failed missions

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GOT BIGGEST CHUNK—Flames midfielder Gerald Phiri Junior

Malawi national football teams used about K679 million during ill-fated campaigns in different competitions last year, Malawi News has established.

The senior side, Flames, used about K314 million in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

In Afcon qualifiers Malawi lost to Uganda 2-0 in Kampala and Burkina Faso 3-1 in Ouagadougou having defeated South Sudan 1-0 in November 2019.

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Flames lie third in Group B with four points from four games whereas Burkina Faso lead with eight points. Uganda are second with seven points while South Sudan anchor the group with three points.

Malawi Under-20 national football team blew K111 million during the team’s disappointing Cosafa Youth Championship outing in December in South Africa.

Malawi Under-20 defeated Comoros 1-0 but went on to lose to Namibia 2-1 and Zambia 2-0 to crush out of the tournament.

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Earlier on, their younger brothers, Flames Under-17, spent about K85 million during the Cosafa Under-17 Championship in the same country.

Malawi Under-17 drew with South Africa two-all but suffered huge defeats to Zambia 6-2 and Angola 7-2.

There was no joy either when their sisters, Scorchers, participated in Cosafa Women’s Championship as they were also booted out in the group stages having used K169 million in the Cosafa Women’s Championship.

The government reportedly contributed K123 million out of the total amount [K679 million] that was used in all the competitions.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary Alfred Gunda admitted there was nothing to show in the year in terms of results and there was a need to do more this year.

“Covid-19 was the huge setback last year as we could not do anything in terms of preparing our teams on time. We were restricted to playing football.

“We received a complaint from the guardians of the deceased and we have put a team, they are leaving on Monday to investigate. The team compromises members from the Medical Council and a specialist doctor which is standard practice.

“In addition, apart from investigations, we will also do an assessment at the facility depending on what was learnt during the incident. We will interview the practitioners and the complainants and the equipment at the facility to assess the suitability to continue conducting deliveries at the facility. By next week, we will have a picture of how the matter went,” he said.

Ndovie further said the council conducts yearly inspections but due to financial constraints other hospitals were not inspected when they conducted the exercises last year.

“We are supposed to conduct inspections in different hospitals and clinics in the country at least once a year but due to resource constraints, it sometimes takes long. Between September and October last year we conducted an inspection exercise in Blantyre but the city has a lot of clinics, in fact, the highest number of clinics so we only managed to inspect half of them and unfortunately, Shifa was not inspected,” he said.

When we visited the hospital, the administrator, Zishan Balwan, referred us to the doctor [Dr. Makwero] who was on duty that day who, by the time we went to press, was still not available for comment.

In recent years, the country has been implementing several efforts to reduce maternal death.

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