The wrangle involving Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) and Football Association of Malawi (Fam) second vice president Othaniel Hara has taken a new twist.
Some NRFA top officials have accused Hara of campaigning against them ahead of the elective Annual General Meeting slated for November 15 at a venue yet to be announced.
This follows a meeting which Hara held on Tuesday at Mzuzu Sports Club where he allegedly offered K20 million league sponsorship should NRFA elect new office bearers.
One of the officials who attended the meeting Alphack Mkandawire, who is also Mzuzu District Football League (MDFL) General Secretary, alleged that Hara told them to vote out the current leaders in order to secure sponsorship.
“The meeting tackled various issues and he [Hara] also disclosed that there is money totaling K20 million from one of the companies from the Southern Region aimed at sponsoring us. But we can only access that money if we vote out the current leadership,” Mkandawire claimed.
However, Hara denied campaigning against NRFA but confirmed meeting the officials on other issues.
“It is true I met them in Mzuzu on Tuesday and I am yet to meet three more districts on a mission to find out whether they got their 2019 funding from Fam,” he said.
On the campaign issue, Hara distanced himself from the allegations despite Malawi News having his recorded audio where he is campaigning against the current NRFA leadership
“That’s not true. I cannot campaign against [Lameck] Khonje because I already defeated him in Mangochi during Fam polls. In my view he fears that the districts will know about annual subvention which was increased from K1 million to K1.5 million. All I want is that they must give back the money to the districts,” he said.
Hara asked Khonje to step down for allegedly failing to account for the money.
“Khonje should acknowledge that he has failed the region. The best he can do now is for him to resign honourably. I am advising him as Fam’s Chairperson for Finance and Administration. My question is how can we develop football in Malawi if the districts are not participating in any football activities at a district level? How can we identify the Gabadinhos of today if someone is squandering their money?” he quizzed.
Meanwhile, Khonje, who is NRFA Chairperson, said Hara should be ashamed for denting his own image and being partisan.
“It is really disheartening to see the whole Fam second Vice President campaigning against us. He is busy moving from one district to another bringing divisions in NRFA. I have said more than once we in NRFA are not divided but it is Hara who is bringing in divisions in the region,” he said.
All the regional football committees are next month going to polls following the expiry of their term of office.
Khonje will face his deputy Felix Mbonekera in the NRFA polls.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.