By Duncan Mlanjira
In the interest of developing the game from grassroots level, which is the nursery for the future of the game, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) now has an operational youth football academy that is being piloted in Blantyre, targeting schools surrounding Mpira Village in Chiwembe, Limbe.
In its Activity Report for the period from July 2017 to June 2018, the association’s president Walter Nyamilandu Manda says this pilot phase will run for one year in Blantyre and in latter years, will escalate the model to rest of the country.
“In the same reporting period, we have seen interest from other non-state development stakeholders, such as Madonna through Raising Malawi, who have an interest to partner with us in developing football,” he said.
“We continue to pursue and engage the Morocco FA, which had initially promised to partner with us in the development of a technical center and youth academy in Lilongwe. Our discussions are promising and we believe that very soon, this promise will be turned into a reality.
“We take pride in the fact that a number of prospective partners are coming forward to propose different models of engagement in the development of the game. This trust can only be because of the stability and steadiness in our plans.
“Further to that, we have enhanced our development path by the expansion of the regional Under 15 League where we feel we are creating a better pyramid on where our football can grow on.
“FAM’s emphasis on youth development is manifested by plans to establish academies in all the four cities in the country. At the time of reporting, trials to select were in progress and we look forward to strengthen our football base through a sound grassroots programme as the academies get operational next.”
Nyamilandu also reports that for the third year running, FAM has used football to positively touch and engage underprivileged communities through various donations to a number of organizations.
“Football is a powerful force in society at large, whose profile and potency must be used in domains such as being socially responsible.
“The proceeds of the 2018 Chifundo Charity Shield, which was competed for by four top elite teams served a very noble cause at the Kachere Rehabilitation Centre and Ekwendeni School for the Blind,” he said.
On the performance of the Malawi national team, Nyamilandu says this remains an ongoing concern having slipped on the FIFA rankings due
to unsatisfactory performance of the Flames in the Africa Cup of Nations where the Flames were placed in a tough group comprising the 2016 African champions, Cameroon and World Cup 2018 qualifiers, Morocco.
“This undesirable outcome has happened at the time when the FA has done everything possible to thoroughly prepare the team through a series of friendly matches and recruited an expatriate coach to take charge of the team.
“The biggest setback has been lack of experience of the squad which
comprises young players at a critical juncture when the team required to be overhauled and rebuilt from bottom up.
“Despite not progressing very well and not meeting the expectation of the fans, the team has given us hope for the future having injected talented fresh blood and adopted continental style of play that is pleasing to the eye and promising to be the winning formulae.
“The major weakness has been inability to create goal scoring opportunities and consistently find the back of the net in order to give us the much needed positive results.
“On the other hand, the youth national team remains the beckon of hope for the country as they perform beyond expectations.”