By Duncan Mlanjira
Walter Nyamilandu Manda is set to launch his manifesto on Thursday evening at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre as he seeks to be given another mandate as Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president against his vice-president James Leonard Mwenda.
Mwenda already launched his manifesto on October 28 at a colorful ceremony held at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe where amongst other things pledged to get the senior Malawi national football team to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and that in 2031 they shall win the coveted for title.
He also said Malawi football requires special attention for its growth and development needs and that it requires to be re-engineered to grow to new heights so that it becomes an industry that supports millions of people while contributing to Malawi’s national development strategies.
In his campaign banners dubbed ‘Raising TheBar’, Nyamilandu — who got elected as a Council Member in the world football governing body FIFA top hierarchy — he is simply say he promised and delivered what he pledged five years ago.
He says he promised to regain corporate trust and confidence of the sponsors and to increase infrastructure with state of the art facilities that saw the construction of Mpira Stadium that hosted the COSAFA Under-17 tournament held last month.
“I am aware of the need to evaluate and take stock of my previous term of office spanning the period 2015-2019,” says Nyamilandu on his website.
“This is why I engaged an independent firm to take thorough audit of my performance based on what I promised in the Harvest Time versus what I implemented.
“I am pleased to present to you the results of that exercise which shows my team delivered more than 70% of what was promised.”
COSAFA president Phillip Chiyangwa congratulated Malawi for hosting a successful COSAFA Under-17 tournament, saying the organisation was top notch while patronage was impressive as Mpira Stadium was packed to the rafters.
As reward for a job well done, the COSAFA president has extended an invitation towards Malawi to host the COSAFA Under-20 next year and even to try a shot at hosting the COSAFA senior tournament in 2021.
Jack Chatha, and many others including those opposing his candidature, applaud Nyamilandu, saying his vision of restructuring Malawi football from grass root level, through academies and, of course, his football management capabilities that saw him being duly elected for a post in the FIFA hierarchy.
“A former player himself, who understands the nitty gritties of the beautiful game, I believe we can still tap in his skill set now while grooming others to take over the mantle in the very nearest future,” Chatha said.
Meanwhile, Malawi National Council of Sports convened a meeting between Manda and Mwenda following unfortunate events that are unfolding as the association is getting closer to the elective general meeting to take place on December 14 in Mangochi.
In a statement, Sports Council says it has observed with concern activities of violence and hate speech surrounding the campaign for the elections.
“This is a serious threat not only to the beautiful game of football but also to national security considering the current political situation in the country,” says the statement from Sports Council’s acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka.
“As custodians of sport, the Council believes there is no room for violence in sport. Sport should be used to promote peace and unity.
“It is based on this principal that Council summoned the two candidates to request them to embrace peace for us to have a smooth and violent-free election come 14th December.
“The two candidates were requested among other things to desist from giving handouts, use of hate speech and use of foul language.
“The Council also encouraged them to promote peace among their followers and further prepare them for whatever outcome that may result from the election.
“The Council is concerned with the unfortunate activities that are unfolding as we approach the elections, if not well managed, pose a security concern as they put property and life of people at risk.
“As a matter of emphasis, the meeting came up with a declaration which both candidates have signed committing themselves to control their followers and to refrain from violence.
“Further, they have committed to fully respect human rights for freedom of campaigning and association before, during and after the elective general meeting and to stand by high standards and fair play values which promote respect for the ruling by officials and conceding of defeat.”
The meeting was attended by the two contestants, Sports Council officials and representatives from Malawi Police Services.