By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
He may be under fire at home with Malawi national football team supporters demanding his resignation for the Flames’ poor performances but Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu proved that he is still trusted at international level.
Despite the relentless pressure bearing on his shoulders for the Flames’ poor form, Nyamilandu managed to make history yesterday by becoming the first ever Malawian to win a seat at world soccer governing body Fifa.
He achieved the feat after trouncing his South Africa Football Association counterpart, Danny Jordaan, by 35 votes against 18 during Confederations of African Football’s (Caf) extraordinary meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
Nyamilandu had, about a month ago, lost a Cosafa vote aimed at identifying one candidate to represent the region at the polls.
The regional soccer governing body endorsed Jordaan instead but Nyamilandu stuck to his guns, saying he still had support outside the region.
But Nyamilandu needed a re-run against the 2010 Fifa World Cup Chief Executive Officer after first round votes failed to produce a majority winner.
In the first round, Walter also came tops when he got 23 votes followed by Jordaan who got 16 votes whereas former Tanzanian FA president and Caf Executive Member Leodegar Tenga came third with 14 votes.
Delegates from 54 countries affiliated to Caf were represented during the polls in Egypt. Nyamilandu has replaced former Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi who resigned from Fifa and Caf after bribery allegations.
He joins the 37-member strategic panel headed by Fifa boss Gianni Infantino, who also attended the Cairo congress.
Nyamilandu said he owed the victory to football officials in the country and promised to repay their trust and confidence.
“I owe it to the football officials in Malawi that have a lot of trust and confidence in me and to the football fans that have supported Malawi football through thick and thin.
“This is a dream come true and a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of football in Africa and beyond. God is great. He has done it again. I am highly favoured and honoured. I have seen His greatness and kindness,” he said.
Fam Vice President, James Mwenda congratulated Nyamilandu for winning the contest.
“We are proud of him and it shows that other countries trust us. We stand to benefit a lot not only as an association but also as a country. This is great news to Malawi,” Mwenda said.
Nyamilandu’s election puts the number of Caf members on the Fifa council at eight. Other members include Caf president Ahmad and Fatma Samoura of Senegal.
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