For the good of Malawi football, I would like to offer an unsolicited apology to both one football player Chimango Kayira and his former club, Big Bullets, for agonies they have caused each other lately. Understandably, Bullets fans have not taken kindly Kayira’s remarks that he is leaving the club poorer than he came. Quite a mouthful salvo, I am afraid to say.
Had the Southern Region Football League (SRFL) secretary George Pagaja given evidence as to why he believes referees in the South are boycotting SRFL games, I would have sympathised with the league. But I am afraid to say that Pagaja’s attempt to explain their case has failed, and has only succeeded in exposing him as one who wants to politicise the issue of the referees’ unpaid dues.
Player transfer stories I have heard this week have left me wondering if there is anything to celebrate about Malawi domestic football at all. To begin with, it is disheartening to realise that it is big teams that ought to lead by example that are perpetrating bad football tendancies. However, what comes out clearly is that the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) are probably overwhelmed by the tasks before them. With no malice intended, these two institutions need to wake up from sleep and bring sanity to Malawi football.
Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers are arguably notable football powerhouses in the country, which other teams look up to for lessons. In all fairness, the two teams have succeeded in that role on the pitch, but not administratively. Sometimes the teams have behaved like cry babies, asking for undeserved attention.
Last weekend’s events at Kamuzu Stadium just confirm that Bullets and Wanderers are big disappointments to Malawi football. Imagine that while all other teams in the Super League see merit in outsourcing gate-collections, the two opted for the old kuthyola khobwe system which enriches individuals, some of whom do not even know how to kick the ball. In my view, explanations as to why the fans manned the gates last weekend do not wash.
There is no harm in adding a kind word to that which has already been said about the late Hastings Kapenuka who leaves behind a legacy worth emulating. As Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said in an MBC interview, Kapenuka was a focused person right from our days at Zomba Catholic Secondary School. That he died in service as a church elder at Limbe CCAP was a confirmation of his school days God-fearing life. He was an exemplary Christian and football administrator. As people walked him to his final resting place at Katimba Cemetery, those that seriously cared saw the benefits of being a good person in whatever you do in life.
One would wonder why Sulom did not see that they made a fool of themselves by telling the world that reasons for rejecting Dedza Stadium as an alternative playing field for Super League games this year are the same as those noted last year.
This week, I am delighted to share this platform with one of its ardent followers, Innocent Mvula of Mzimba, who comments on government’s directive to offer houses to Flames players as follows: “I was sceptical from the first time this issue was announced. I was so sceptical after considering the football system in our country. It looks we are still building our football structures and we do not know when we will finish the foundation. The foregoing being the case, it also boils down to national team selection.
The latest we have heard about the proposed Flames’ journey to Denmark is that the trip is a non-starter for various reasons. I have difficulties to appreciate why this chance to prepare the Flames for their June World Cup qualifiers has slipped through our fingers. It smacks of someone sleeping on duty. Once again, the Football Association of Malawi has behaved like ‘a rich beggar’ who can comfortably choose what to do and when for himself or herself when the opposite is the truth.
The blame-game on the Flames housing project directive betrays Sports Minister Enoch Chihana and his subordinates. The impression one gets is that the project is failing to start because something was not done right at some stage. Yes, government’s duty is to formulate policies, but my understanding is that government policies are formulated in collaboration with the technocrats (the implementors) and politicians only articulate them to advance government agenda.