Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has exhausted its K60 million (US$186,915) allocation from government for the national teams’ activities, a development that could affect the Flames’ trip to Nigeria for the decisive 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday confirmed that the Flames’ budget for the trip to Nigeria is K40 million and already K35 million has been used for the Cosafa Cup, the international friendly match against Rwanda as well as visas for the Nigeria trip, leaving the association with a K15 million deficit.
“Initially, our understanding was that our allocation for this year would be K70 million (US$218,068), but we have just received official communication from Sports Council that it is, in fact, K60 million which is K10 million (US$31152) less than what we anticipated.
“The development puts us in a tight corner because it means our budget for the Nigeria trip is K15 million (US$46,728) short,” said Nyirenda.
The FAM CEO said despite government’s announcement that there will be no extra budgetary allocations this year, they are crossing their fingers that their issue will be treated as a special case.
“We have had a series of meetings with government and Sports Council and we are hoping that they will bail us out as they have done before considering that the Nigeria showdown is very important,” said Nyirenda.
The development comes barely three days before the team leaves for Botswana en route to Nigeria.
“We were planning to finalise all the necessary arrangements by Thursday [tomorrow], but with the latest development, we are not sure if we will be able to meet all the requirements such as travel bookings and accommodation,” he said.
However, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana said the Flames will have to do with what is on their plate.
“We’ll give them their remainder [K25 million] [US$77,881] because you plan according to funding,” said Jana.
Asked what the chances of the association getting extra allocation are, Jana said: “Government already made its position as regards the issue of extra funding and looking at the timing, I doubt if it can work.”
He also wondered why FAM is not able to plan within the K25 million when the Botswana trip is already taken care of by the hosts.
“The trip to Botswana is paid for, so in actual fact, it is an expense saver,” he said.
The Flames are scheduled to depart for Botswana’s capital Gaborone on Sunday evening for Tuesday’s build-up match against the Zebras before proceeding to Nigeria on Wednesday [September 4].
The match against the Super Eagles is slated for September 7 in Calabar.