Newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo- Banda has pledged to lobby for increased funding for all sporting disciplines in the country.
Chimwendo-Banda, has replaced Ulemu Msungama, who has been left out from President Lazarus Chakwera’s latest cabinet.
In an interview Friday, Chimwendo- Banda said he would try to engage the private sector to support all sporting codes.
“Sports brings us together and we must make sure that all sporting codes have enough funds. Look at what the Flames did at Afcon and they need more support.” he said.
Chimwendo-Banda, who is also Leader of the House in Parliament, said he will also focus much on youth empowerment.
“Another key component of the ministry is youth empowerment. Let us create more jobs for the youth,” he said.
Chimwendo-Banda is not new in sports fraternity.
In 2017, when he was chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community, he questioned Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) for failing to take a leading role in the implementation of E-ticketing in government-owned sports facilities.
Sports analyst Kevin Moyo said expectations were high following Chimwendo Banda’s appointment.
“He is one of the strong persons in the cabinet and I believe sports will benefit a lot. He should use his political clout to lobby for more funds for all sports disciplines,” Moyo said.
Some sports associations have equally welcomed his appointment.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale said the new Sports Minister should consider increasing funding for minority sports said.
“We expect him to address some of the challenges in sports. Lack of funds is the major problem,” Namangale said, whose association hosted Africa Chess Championship last year.
On his part, Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary, Isaac Chimwala, also welcomed the new minister.
“It is my hope that the new minister comes in pumped up to support efforts to direct more resources to netball so that we can develop the game,” he said.
There was no immediate reaction from Fam as both president Walter Nyamilandu and General Secretary Alfred Gunda.
Funding is one of the major challenges facing sporting disciplines in the country.
In the 2021/22 National Budget, Malawi National Council of Sports was allocated K1.6 billion.
Out of K1.6 billion, a total of K1.053 billion was allocated for sports development as grants to sports associations.