Soccer pundits have expressed mixed views after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu received an honorary doctorate degree from America-based Cypress International Institute University.
The university conferred Nyamilandu with the degree at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Saturday in recognition of his contribution to football.
Lilongwe-based football analyst Kim Kamau said Fam affiliates should not be deceived with the doctorate but analyse the president critically before the association’s forthcoming elections in December.
“We should congratulate him for getting an honorary doctorate degree. This is his personal achievement. It is similar to the Fifa Council member position which he is benefitting from and not Malawi. Affiliates should know better his achievements than others who just want to decorate him,” he said.
Another analyst, George Chiusiwa, questioned the timing following reports that Nyamilandu might contest for the Fam presidency.
“We have seen other reputable people turning down such honours because of the credibility of the institution. So soccer fans and affiliates need to weigh if indeed the achievements are many to warrant such honours,” he said.
Super League of Malawi President Tiya Somba Banda, who was one of the representatives from Fam member associations at the ceremony, said the award should encourage all stakeholders in football to work hard.
“The award has not just come on a silver platter. It is a true reflection of the excellent work and administrative leadership that the president has invested in Malawi football,” he said.
Central Region Football Association Chairperson, Austin Ajawa, said Nyamilandu’s doctorate would inspire other football administrators.
“This should encourage all of us in football to work hard and continue improving our game,” he said.
Nyamilandu dedicated his honorary doctorate degree to all local football stakeholders for working tirelessly to develop the game.
“It has not been a one-man show but team-work. This is why I would like to dedicate this doctorate to all stakeholders. Together, we have achieved milestones and made strides in the development of football in this country in the areas of infrastructure, grassroots football, accountability and financial controls, good partnership with corporate sponsors, commercialisation of the game and 2010 Afcon qualification.
“From passionate football fans who make sacrifices for football to happen in Malawi; to the affiliates who organise football at grassroots, district, regional and national levels; the people who use their own personal resources to support their clubs; and everyone from ballboys, stewards, clubs and our most treasured assets—the players, I salute you. This is for you,” he said.