Taken to task
Sports Council summons Fam after Flames’ loss
Issues surrounding Malawi National Football Team’s 4-0 loss to Egypt on Tuesday continue to dominate the sports landscape, with Malawi National Council of Sports summoning Football Association of Malawi (Fam) to a meeting in Blantyre last Wednesday.
The Flames are in the news for the wrong reasons as they continued to underperform with coach Mario Marinica, who has been in charge since last year.
The meeting came just a day after Malawi suffered the embarrassing defeat to Egypt in the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
The result is the worst at home since 1976 when Malawi lost 6-1 to Zambia.
Sports Council Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise confirmed that the meeting was scheduled for Wednesday night.
Madise said the meeting was aimed at getting a comprehensive report from Fam on the Flames’ comical display.
“We wanted to engage Fam first before reacting. The national team is for all Malawians and not an individual. It is clear that people are disappointed with the results and we wanted to understand what happened,’’ Madise said.
However, we were unable to get more details on what transpired during the meeting as we went to press.
The Flames also lost 2-0 to Egypt away in Cairo last Friday. Fam gets subventions from Sports Council for all national teams.
However, the association already exhausted its allocation for the 2022-23 financial year and is waiting for a new cut from the new budget.
Fam President Walter Nyamilandu also confirmed being at the meeting.
“Sports Council is part of the review process as our key stakeholder; so, we, indeed, met them,’’ Nyamilandu said.
The association is expected to review Marinica’s contract, which is set to expire next week.
The Romanian is under heavy criticism from the football fraternity following back-to-back defeats to the Pharaohs, shipping in six goals and scoring none.
The Flames need more than a miracle to qualify for the Afcon finals to be staged in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.
Despite failing to deliver in several competitions, Marinica told journalists after the loss to Egypt that he would not quit.
The shoddy performance also irked Sports Minister Uchizi Mkandawire, who described it as disappointing.
“Whatever happened on Tuesday is not bad luck as such. It does not require rocket science for one to know that our team is in poor shape. On our part as government, we have fulfilled our role and will continue to do our best, including provision of allowances in good time.
“But it remains Fam’s mandate to run the sport. All Malawians are asking for are answers to the underperformance of our national team. Our role for now is to push, through Sports Council, for Fam to account for what happened on Tuesday,’’ Mkandawire said.
Flames players reportedly boycotted training due to unpaid allowances amounting to K40 million on Monday, with just about 24 hours before the match.
Malawi are bottom of Group D of the qualifiers with three points from four matches, at par with Ethiopia.
Egypt and Guinea look set to make it from the group as they are tied at nine points each, with the former topping the table by virtue of a better goal difference.