Allow me to get a surgical knife, slip into vintage white coat, face and hair cover and, like a surgeon, dissect an incurable domestic football tumour called Football Association of Malawi (FAM) affiliate(s).
For starters, these FAM affiliates are the regional football associations, national committees for youth football, coaches, women football, beach football, referees and the Super League of Malawi [Sulom].
Such affiliates are the source of inept football administration, firefighting and thugs who have hijacked the game.
Such affiliates hardly watch football. Most have never played football and do not have intellectual capacity. They are in football, but not for football. They are mere gold diggers.
They are very influential though. If you want to be elected FAM board member, the trick lies in enlisting the affiliates’ support. You do not necessarily need a particular football agenda. It is about knowing appeasement policy.
Some officials go to great lengths with generosity towards these electorates by paying them allowances for foreign trips they have not undertaken.
Nothing is guaranteed though.
One aspiring FAM executive committee member thought he was guaranteed of two votes ahead of the 2011 FAM elections when he gave a lift to two of these voters from Blantyre to Salima. Come elections results, this aspirant got zero votes.
These affiliates are shrewd and they are among the many biggest jokes of Malawi football.
The affiliates resurrect when sharing gate collections, attending seminars, workshops and during elections—then slip into coma again.
Not all affiliates are bad apples, but most of them are. They elect FAM officials for selfish reasons. This happens while needs of coaches and players, who shed gallons of sweat and suffer from BP on the pitch, are relegated to the sun-baked open terraces.
December 18 FAM elections are about block blind voting by these affiliates.
If Malawi football is to change, there is need to redefine the constituency of these affiliates and ensure they comprise only principled persons. n