By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi’s Football Journalists Association (FJA) was officially launched on Friday at Red Zebra Lodge in Salima, which was graced by Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Super League of Malawi (SULOM) as well as Southern Region Football Association, and all three endorsed the existence of the new grouping whose aim is promote and maintain a high professional standard among journalists who specialise in football.
Guest of honour at the launch, FAM’s Chief Executive Officer Alfred Gunda said the football governing body was happy that journalists are continuing to get organised in their profession, an indication that football reporting is getting to being the serious business it deserves.
“The media is an important ingredient of football since time immemorial to this modern day,” Gunda said. “Football is football as we know it today as the biggest sport in the world because of the media.
“The media is one of the biggest stakeholders that FAM cherishes and cannot do without. It is encouraging to note of the formation of this grouping that has football at heart and is specializing in football journalism.
“As FAM, we will give you support and work with you in your projects aimed at developing the game as we will also continue doing the same with other existing sports media groupings that are promoting the game.
“We urge you to be organised, disciplined and professional in your execution of duties as you are the mirror of the game in the eyes of the public and the corporate world. You have the power to make football happen or indeed destroy it as you have the power to paint the picture of the game in our country for the local and international perceptions.
“We can only improve as FAM and the football industry in general if we are given objective criticism of our shortfalls as well as suggestions through the various platforms platforms.”
He urged the journalists to remain profession and objective and asked the younger generation of journalists to take a leaf from several of the experienced journalists that form part of the grouping.
“We expect FJA to be acting an advisory role to FAM and indeed all its affiliates on how best to deal with media issues and promotion of the game. By extension, it is our appeal to FJA to advise its members on the benefits of professional presentation of its members,” he said.
Taking his turn, one of FJA’s Trustees, Zacharia Nyirenda said he felt honoured when he was approached to be part of the new association, saying they have shown maturity for involving the right stakeholders for the betterment of the game.
Nyirenda, who was voted as SULOM vice-general secretary during the league’s elective annual general also held in Salima the following day, Saturday, also applauded FJA for rightly taking the direction to ensure that specialization in football reporting is promoted.
Other guests to the function were former SULOM executive committee member Aggrey Khonje, Southern Region Football Association chairman Raphael Humba, as well as Sports Writers Association (SWAM) representative Lucy Kadzongwe.
Interestingly, both Khonje and Nyirenda were contesting for the SULOM post of vice-general secretary that was to take place the following day that saw Nyirenda being voted in.
Both Khonje and Humba urged FJA to continue executing their duties with integrity and pledged continued support.
FJA President Joy Ndovi, from Nation Publications, said he was proud and appreciative of the support of all journalists in founding this new grouping further aimed at co-operating with football bodies to encourage improved services in all forms of communications so that the reporting of football shall be objective, reliable, speedy and accurate.
He reminded the delegates that FJA shall coordinate and collaborate with development oriented organisations nationally, regionally and internationally and to promote social interaction among its members.
It shall also strive for improved facilities and working conditions for football journalists by dealing with matters concerning accreditation of FJA members at football events, to organise training workshops and to champion the rights and welfare of football players.
The vice-chairperson is Deitrich Frederich of MIJ FM; Mabvuto Kambuwe from Times Group is the general secretary; treasurer is Madalitso Phiri of Capital Radio and regional representatives are Joe Mwase of Zodiak Broadcasting for the Centre and Robert Mbetewa for the North.
Ordinary members are Richard Tiyesi, Garry Chirwa of the Nation, Lifu Litete of MIJ, Williams Gondwa of Times Group, Paul Kamanga, Clement Chinoko of the Nation and Gospel Kanyama of Ufulu.
The event was made possible with support from Rab Processors, Skyline International, FAM, SULOM and SWAM.