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Open Play: Why I am shunning sports speeches


An encounter in 2014 with International Sports Press Association (Aips) president, Gianni Merlo, in Azerbajain, was an eye-opener so humbling.

For starters, the Italian Merlo is an accomplished sports journalist and author of Oscar Pistorious’ biography The Blade Runner.

Merlo is every sports reporters’ master for it is to his Switzerland-based Aips that Sports Writers Association (Swam) is affiliated.


I met Merlo at an Aips congress which he was to eventually open with a twominute speech.

So short was the speech that it finished well before I even thought of taking notes.

Over the years, I have learnt that in the civilised world, time for long speeches is gone. Action is what matters the most.


There are no honeymoons for office bearers. Looking back, I have attended a thousand sports gatherings in Malawi where colourful speeches have been made only to translate to zero action.

This is why I have decided to, from now on wards, ignore speeches, long speeches in particular.

I have copies of 1000 sports speeches threatening, flattering and promising to do this and that, including securing Flames players houses with zero implementation.

Therefore, apart from listening to coaches and athletes, I have shut my ears to speeches, especially from the sports ministry, Fam and Sulom.

From now onwards, I will live by Nike’s Just Do It mantra.

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