By Duncan Mlanjira
Saturday is the D-Day when 36 members of Football Association of Malawi (FAM) will decide whether to retain incumbent president Walter Nyamilandu for the 5th term or opt for his deputy James Mwenda to take over.
The 36 affiliate voters who hold the trump card are 8 from the Super League of Malawi; 6 each from Southern, Northern and Central football associations and 2 each from women’s football, junior football, beach football and national coaches association.
Other posts up for grabs are for 1st vice-president to be contested by Jabbar Alide and Daudi Ntanthiko, 2nd vice-president (Othaniel Hara and Lameck Zetu Khonje) while ordinary members are Muhammad Seleman, Chimango Munthali, Madalitso Kuyera, Masiya Nyasulu, Rashid Ntelera while Felister Dossi might just be co-opted, being a woman.
In his manifesto, Mwenda says the country’s football needs him to re-engineer it to grow to new heights so that it becomes an industry that supports millions of people while contributing to Malawi’s national development strategies.
He also says that he shall make sure the Flames should qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and that in 2031 they shall win the coveted for title.
He says by 2031 the Flames shall be a big force as it shall be participating in other regional and international tournaments as he shall endeavour to invest in all levels of football with the ultimate objective of developing football to feed the national men’s and women’s teams.
Actions to be implemented to achieve this includes arranging advanced training programmes for national team coaches locally and externally and to engage FAs in countries where football is well developed to train our coaches on an ongoing basis.
He pledges the implementing training programmes for coaches at grassroots levels using coaches and legends; maintain a consistent team and keep investing in the youth and provide incentives and develop a systematic calendar for friendly games in line with the strategic plan.
He says he shall ensure that national teams play friendly games with strong national teams; to introduce appearance fees for national team players as a replacement of daily training allowance and to increase player’s incentives by 50% of the current portfolio in collaboration with government and private sector.
He also promises to introduce player-public twinning programme, where members of the public can choose players to sponsor and support for a period of time; to introduce a medical policy for players in the national teams and to introduce medical insurance for all players in the national team.
He also says he shall introduce a local club protection programme which aims at compensating football player who get injured during games not covered by FIFA and to collaborate with TEVETA and introduce investment and entrepreneurial certified training programmes for players.
He shall engage economically successful legends to mentor current players and guide them on how to invest in preparation for life after football and to liaise with SULOM to conduct financial management training for football players.
Nyamilandu, on the other hand, says he is set to introduce minimum wage for Super League and regional leagues; that all players shall have medical cover in their contracts and a gratuity shall be paid for players with over 10 caps.
The Football Players Association shall become an independent body under FIFPRO and that national team players shall get 50% share from appearance fee at any tournament.
Under Nyamilandu, FAM increased infrastructure with modern facilities and state of the art stadium that saw the construction of the 5,000-seater Mpira Stadium at Chiwembe that hosted the 2019 Under-17 COSAFA tournament.
FAM now has highly educated staff managing the game on a day to day basis with coveted qualifications such as the FIFA Master.
Nyamilandu also says his vision is to transform women’s football into a national sport and a full time career where women and girls actively play organized football in competitive leagues through well-established clubs to become shining stars in Malawi and beyond the borders of the country.
He also pledges to have established and empowered Beach Soccer Secretariat, saying Beach Soccer is a contemporary football platform that is key to enhance the promotion of football to all sectors of the society.
He pledges that he shall source partners to establish a Beach Soccer mini stadium in Lilongwe, at Mtandire Technical Center and will partner with various sports clubs in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu in erecting Beach soccer pitches.
On women’s football, he pledges rolling out a competitive and lucrative national league, recruitment of women football technical director and to establish and empower its own secretariat.
He pledges the establishment of resident site for women football at Mtandire technical centre, to champion increased sponsorship, branding and promotion and to initiate for increased women administrators
For youth football, he shall establish school of excellence at Luwinga technical center in Mzuzu, introduce academies in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu, Karonga and Kasungu.
Many schools of thought believe Nyamilandu should pave way for others having served for over 15 years but the majority is also for him to see if indeed he can Raise the Bar — as is his slogan.