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Total chaos in Malawi sports

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The recent outbursts that have dominated back pages of local newspapers between the Sports Minister, Henry Mussa, and Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, is a sad song that has made the football fraternity cry and feel embarrassed.

The bone of contention was the delayed funding for the Flames camping ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Comoros.

Fam cancelled the Flames camping because the government was delaying releasing the funds for local camping, only for the team to regroup a few days later.

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The local football governing body said they had been talking to the government for a long time on the issue but it was not forthcoming.

However, the minister hit back at Fam, claiming its leadership wants to hold the government to ransom every time the issue of the Flames funding comes up. The minister said Fam’s leadership has an attitude problem and is unpatriotic.

It is a fact that when it comes to issues of the Flames’ funding, the government has been playing hide and seek. It always releases the funds late which affects the team’s preparations.

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It is surprising that the government would want to treat the issue of the Flames’ funding as an emergency and yet they have the whole fixture involving the team in advance.

Even the K300 million, which has been allocated to Fam in the national purse, is just a drop in the ocean. That is just enough to cater for two West African teams’ foreign trips.

It is unfortunate that the minister is failing to appreciate the problem before he starts calling Fam leadership unpatriotic. It is a fact that there is awkward bureaucracy in the civil service that makes some of us sick and tired.

The minister must be told in no uncertain terms that the Flames’ funding is the responsibility of the government and it must be released in good time.

It is frustrating that every time the Flames have international fixtures, issues of funding dominate the back pages of local newspapers. There is need to come up with long lasting solution to this problem.

However, the sports minister also has a point. Sometimes Fam behaves like cry babies. They like taking issues to the media before they exhaust discussions with the government. Possibly, this is the way to seek public sympathy.

This is an organisation that was too ambitious to recruit an expensive expatriate coach in the absence of steady funding for the national team. This is where the minister’s concern that Fam leadership is stubborn is justified.

This unnecessary tension, between Fam and the government, makes some of us start cursing our identity because it signifies that there is total chaos in Malawi sports, football in particular.

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