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Sports perspective: We can forget about the beautiful game

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The news that Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has withdrawn from the Under-17 and Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers because government has no funds, constitutes lop-sided thinking and lack of vision on the part of our authorities.

Last week, Fam officially announced its withdrawal from the youth tournaments, a move which has worried senior national team Coach, Ernest Mtawali.

The government, which is responsible for funding the national soccer teams in the country, is stone-broke as evidenced by its failure to feed its own people, who are reeling from the effects of severe drought.

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Withdrawing from such tournaments is disappointing considering that all the countries in the world value them because they know this is the nursery for senior teams.

It is impossible to have a strong national team if you cannot join the junior tournaments. This is where players are nurtured and developed.

It is, therefore, absurd to be spending money on the senior national soccer team when it has no nursery. It does not require rocket science to know this.

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But in a country where people value theft of public resources more than investing in important projects and those that are in authority are allergic to constructive criticisms, you expect such wayward thinking.

In a country where leaders harbour no ambition to develop soccer, you expect such an ocean of chaos to be the order of the day.

The pulling out of the youth teams is enough sign that all is not well with Malawi football. This news is shocking and unbelievable especially to some of us who have covered this game for close to 25 years.

As Malawians are struggling to get out of this quagmire, we can forget about any success in as far as football is concerned.

This is the game our government has willingly put on life-support, and yet as a nation we anticipate miraculous success from our senior national team. The fact remains that in football, miracles do not happen; governments need to invest in the game.

I know that some sports ministers have dubbed my honest opinion on how government has been messing up our football as utter nonsense, but in reality Malawi Government has literally failed in its duties to support the game.

It would be unfair to point a finger at Fam; it has tried its best to subsidise the national soccer team engagements and we expected that the government could also do its part in promoting junior national teams.

It seems these politicians have deliberately chosen to ignore the role football, the game Brazilian legend Pele called beautiful, play in unifying the nation.

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