Managing Flames through media

So, FAM as usual, has—using us the media—rolled out yet another public sympathy-buying campaign by setting deadlines for themselves and threatening to withdraw the Flames from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Group B qualifiers.

FAM’s press release set last Friday as the deadline for the withdrawal. But as the clock ticked agonizingly towards the cut-off point, the association shifted goal posts by hosting a press conference the same Friday to announce that the Flames would, after all, regroup ahead of the Mali game and a trip to Ethiopia on November 15 and 19 2014 respectively.

You know what they say? If someone threatens at length to beat you up, just know they will not — of course, do not try it.

Therefore, the aim of FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda’s two-page press release of last week was to jolt government into action.

And jolted it has been.

Youth and Sports Minister Grace Chiumia, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe have been forced to clarify on Flames’ funding.

It is clear FAM’s empty threat caught government flat-footed after being cast in dark light as hard-heated and uncaring to a national liability that is the Flames.

FAM might have just achieved its aim of ensuring that its officials, who accompany the Flames, fly on our tax to Ethiopia for some more allowances.

Government may preach that FAM and its baby, the Flames, must learn to live within their means, but deep down their hearts they know this is a national liability that will always be sponsored for political correctness.

Now when you run a national team through the media, you know there are serious fundamental administrative gaps. What it means is that money is being poured into a drain as there is no investment on infrastructure, preparations and the nursery, but on the final product that is the Flames.

Funding the Flames does not come about as a matter of conviction, but rather responding to obvious political sensitivities.

Malawi football shall always be on the silent political agenda.

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