There are huge gaps in financial and material benefits between female and male athletes with men getting far much better perks, Weekend Nation has established.
The clearest example is Flames players whose game bonus is K100 000 for a win and half the amount for a draw while the netball national team players get K20 000 for a win and K10 000 for a draw.
It is even worse for the Malawi women’s football team. Each player pockets K15 000 for a win and K7 500 for a draw, the National Women Football Committee (NWFC) confirmed while disclosing that it is currently pushing for an increment.
Commenting on the gap between netball and football national team bonuses, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana said government has a standard bonus range of K20 000 for both sides.
“The rate on the books is K20 000 for a win. However, the Football Association of Malawi [FAM] identifies its own resources to add on to the K20 000 and the players receive K60 000 for a win. As you can see the bonus rate is the same for netball and football,” he said.
But according to our findings, Sports Council contributes K30 000 each for a win to the Flames while the remainder [K70 000] is sourced by FAM.
Jana ruled out the possibility of lobbying from government for an increase in the netball perks to match with the topped Flames bonuses.
“For me the players must make their money from their clubs not the national team. The national team events are a pride and for patriotism. No team in the country pays bonuses and/or allowances at the levels the Government pays. Why then should the Government pay more that the employers of the players which are their clubs/teams,” Jana said in an e-mailed response.
In an interview, NWFC president Severia Chalira said they had noted the huge gap between the Flames players and the women football national team.
She said though women football is not popular and a massive income generator like the men’s game, it could be motivating if the female players had their perks increased to “be a bit in tandem with the Flames players.”
“When we were at the Cosafa tournament in Zimbabwe, we expressed our concern over the game bonuses and FAM hinted they would review them,” said Chalira.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda in an interview argued that women footballers earn less because the sport has just been introduced.
He, however, added that they were also concerned that the gap between the Flames and the women national football team was huge.
“We really want to secure funds that can help us increase the women’s perks. It might not necessarily match with what their men counterparts get, but it would be something better,” said Gunda.
Tennis and golf are some of the sports sectors where tournament prizes for male and female players differ significantly, according to their administrators.
Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (Ltam) general secretary Stan Kaunda confessed that male tennis players get better prizes than women.
He attributed the disparity to tournament sponsors who decide the prizes to give to the winners.
“The argument some sponsors give is that men play more games in order to emerge champions. Usually the gap in the prizes is between 20 and 25 percent which is relatively wide,” he said.
But Kaunda said there are some sponsors like Simbanet sponsors of this year’s Malawi International Tennis Open who have declared that prizes in men’s and women’s categories should be equal.
“We would love to have the men and women getting the same prizes like the case of the upcoming Malawi Open. But we cannot force the sponsors to ensure equality,” he said.
Malawi national golf team coach Chris Kachiguma also observed that most times male golfers receive better prizes than women despite competing in the same tournament with the same format.
He said it is tournament sponsors that decide on the type of prizes to present to the winners.
“Most times there are few women golfers competing in the tournament. The sponsors therefore feel that the women categories are not as competitive as men’s category hence the disparities in the prizes,” Kachiguma said.