New Sports Minister, Ulemu Msungama, has said review of the country’s sports policy will be his first major task.
Msungama is part of the 31-member cabinet list released on Wednesday evening-becoming the first Sports Minister in the President Lazarus Chakwera-led administration.
The Malawi Congress Party Lilongwe City South East Member of Parliament said he felt honoured to be entrusted with the development of sports in the country.
Msungama said he would make sure that the government’s sports policy is implemented by all sports associations across the country.
“Sports disciplines need to be guided by the government’s sports policy so that we all pull in the same direction. This will be my first assignment at the ministry. We need a common approach to sports if we are to become a great sporting nation.
“I would like to make a big difference with what the president has entrusted me with. Let me assure the sports fraternity that I will do everything possible to improve sports at all levels,” he said.
Msungama said he would also revisit some of the projects left by his predecessor Francis Phiso under the immediate past Democratic Progressive Party government.
He said such projects include construction of stadiums for giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
“There is quite a lot that we will do together as a sports family. It is not just about me. I am not promising the moon but the sports sector can be assured of great improvements during my reign. I am a keen follower of diverse sporting codes in the country and I love sports.
“I thank President Chakwera for entrusting me with something I am passionate about. I accept the position wholeheartedly and I am ready to deliver. I am a keen follower of football, basketball and I also play volleyball.
I also enjoy playing various indoor games,” Msungama said.
Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said the new minister needs support to deliver.
“Let us not expect a lot from him in a short period of time. He has the capacity to deliver and with enough support from technocrats in the ministry, he will do a good job. However, we should give him ample time and support,” Kaudza-Masina said.
Another analyst, Kevin Moyo, asked Msungama to work on policies that will motivate the private sector to invest in sports.
“The minister should ensure that his ministry is working hand-in-hand with the corporate world. This is one way of bringing the much needed resources into game. The private sector should be invited to play its role in sport.
“It is worries me to note that it is only government that is sponsoring most sports disciplines in the country. We want private companies to come in and support the game,” Moyo said.
Former Malawi National Council of Sports Executive Secretary, George Jana, advised Msungama to strive towards developing all sporting disciplines in the country.
“The minister should try as much as possible to be in touch with stakeholders on the ground. He should open up to everyone so that he appreciates challenges that sporting disciplines are facing. This will help him to make key decisions,” Jana said.
Another task that the new minister is likely to be preoccupied with is the return of sports in the country after the previous government suspended it in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) submitted a roadmap on the game’s return to the Ministry of Sports and is still awaiting response.
However, the rise in Covid-19 cases is likely to delay the return of sports in the country.