Malawian football in crisis | Kwesé

Malawian football in crisis

Malawian football in crisis

15:30 SAST | 13 Mar 2017

Malawi football has been plunged into crisis after the country put on hold their search for a new national team coach and pulled out of the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup and 2018 Africa Nations Championship.

The Flames qualified for the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola, but that is now a distant memory as the country plunges into a new crisis with a lack of funds effectively putting their senior national team activity on hold.

The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has been on the hunt for a new permanent national team coach since the sacking of Ernest Mtawali in June last year. Burundian Ramadhan Nsanzurwimo has filled the role in a caretaker capacity, but is not seen as the right man for the future.

FAM had wanted to bring in a coach with international expertise who would not only lead the senior national team, but also put in place development structures in the country and mentor local coaches. However, the Malawi government, the financial benefactors of FAM, have declined to fund the move and that has left the search on hold.

“A comprehensive proposal and justification was sent to the Government as the financiers,” FAM said in a statement on Sunday.

“It was expected that the expatriate coach was going to drill our current crop of players to international levels for better performance of the team. It was also expected that the expatriate coach was going to provide mentorship to our local coaches with a view of them taking over the team at the expiry of his contract.

“The proposal has been declined on account of the current adverse economic situation that the country is facing.”

FAM say they will only restart their search when they have confirmation from government that they can fund the appointment.

“The current huge gaps and shortfalls of our senior national football team can only be addressed through recruitment of a well-trained and highly experienced expatriate coach,” FAM concluded.

The national association has also resolved that they cannot afford to continue in the qualifiers for the 2019 Nations Cup that will be staged in Cameroon, as well as the 2018 Africa Nations Championship in Kenya.

They had been drawn in a qualifying group for the former with hosts Cameroon, Morocco and the winner of the preliminary round tie between Comoros and Mauritius.

That was essentially already a ‘three-team’ pool as Cameroon qualify automatically as hosts, but it now appears it will be between just Morocco and one of the island nations.


Malawi were up against Madagascar in the preliminary qualifying round for CHAN, with the winner of that tie to meet Mozambique in the next round.

But FAM say they will instead put what financial resources they have into development structures in the country, rather than competing on the international stage.

“Being its core responsibility, FAM, with the support and funding from FIFA and CAF, will intensify and dedicate all its efforts and resources towards football development programs. Special emphasis will be placed on coaching, grassroots and youth football,” the association said.

To this aim, FAM is looking to appoint a director of football to look after junior football in the country as a feeder to the senior national team “as and when funding becomes available” for The Flames to participate again.

“FAM would like to inform the general public and all its stakeholders that it is fully aware of the negative implications, including fines and suspension, such withdrawal may attract.

“However, in its consideration, such withdrawal and its negative implications cannot be avoided looking at the current level of desperation that the senior national football team is in terms of funding and overall support.”


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