The cloud of uncertainty surrounding the Flames trip to Chad for their midweek 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first round preliminary qualifier was cleared at the 11th hour on Friday when Malawi Government finally released funding.
The funding was released just in time as the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) faced a race against time and was given until Friday midday to secure air tickets for the trip by Kenya Airways.
Both Youth Development and Welfare Minister Symon Vuwa-Kaunda and FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed on Saturday that government had released funding in the excess of K20 million (about $120 000) for the trip.
Coach Kinnah Phiri and his side are set to leave the country this Sunday afternoon.
Said Vuwa-Kaunda: “I can confirm that government has released about K22 million (about $132 000) for the trip as requested by FAM.
“So all the doubts surrounding the trip have been cleared. You can even check with FAM, we have given them the money,” added the minister sounding quite relieved.
Asked why government had taken time to release the funding, the minister said it was because FAM had asked for additional funding.
“At the beginning of every financial year, FAM makes submissions to government through Sports Council as regards its activities and apparently the games against Chad as well as Nigeria [World Cup qualifiers] were not included.
“So, they asked for K100 million (about $600 000) additional funding and government had to look into the request for extra budgetary requirement,” Vuwa-Kaunda said.
Nyirenda also confirmed that all is set for the trip.
“We got the funding just in time because the airline had given us until [Friday] to secure the tickets.
“FAM would like to thank the Malawi Government for funding the Chad trip to the tune of K22 million (about $600 000) which is covering all internal training camping expenses, air tickets and external allowances.
“We are very grateful for the funds and special mention should go to President Bingu wa Mutharika, the Sports Minister and officials from his ministry,” Nyirenda said.
The Flames, who will be led by FAM first vice-president Moses Mkandawire, are expected to arrive in NÃ¢â‚¬â„¢djamena at around midnight. Also making the trip is Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports Alex Mseka.