Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama says he has sent back proposed new allowances for national football and netball teams to Malawi National Council for Sports (MNCS) because they need to be adjusted further.
In an interview on Thursday, the minister said: “I got the proposed adjustments for the national teams’ players, but I did not approve them because I felt they are on the lower side. Our players, especially the Queens, deserve better for their efforts to put the country on the map.
“What they currently get is peanuts and even what Sports Council proposed was still too little. So, I will be waiting to hear from council once they work on the figures.”
MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka yesterday said he was still waiting for feedback from the ministry.
Sports Council proposed standardised game bonus of K50 000 each for a win, K5 000 each daily training allowance and $60 each as daily external allowance for the Queens, Flames and women’s national football team, the Scorchers.
Currently, the Queens get K20 000 each for a win, K2 000 (K1 000 top up from NAM each as daily training allowance and $50 each as daily external allowance while the Flames and Scorchers get K30 000 each for a win, but FAM tops up Flames’ game bonus with K70 000 to make it K100 000 each. The Flames pocket K6 000 (K3 000 top up from FAM) each as daily training allowance while the Scorchers get K1 000 each. They also get $50 each as external allowance.
During a meeting which Flames players had recently, they resolved to ask FAM to hike their game bonus to K500 000 each. They also requested the scrapping off of training allowances and, instead, consider introducing a K250 000 each as appearance fee. They also want their external allowances to be raised to $100 each per day.
Queens’ captain Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and her Flames and Scorchers’ counterparts John ‘CJ’ Banda and Tabitha Chawinga respectively, yesterday applauded the minister for his move.
Said Mtukule-Ngwira: “The minister has demonstrated that he has the welfare of the players at heart and on behalf of my fellow Queens’ players, I commend him for that.
“It is frustrating that despite putting the country on the map, what we get is peanuts. Our allowances have been stagnant for over a decade and we are not motivated because we are the least paid national team in the world.
“I hope Sports Council will raise the allowances to the expected standards.”
On his part, ‘CJ’ Banda said: “For a long time, we have been complaining about our allowances and games bonus being on the lower side and the minister’s intervention comes as a relief.
“I first earned a Flames call-up in 2011 and nine years down the line, the allowances are still the same. We have taken up the issue with FAM several times.”
Chawinga said national team players deserve better incentives for them to be motivated.
“Yes, representing one’s country is an honour, but then you cannot expect a player to perform to the expected standards if he or she is not motivated. So, I applaud the minister for his gesture,” she said.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya and his FAM counterpart Walter Nyamilandu also commended the minister for his intervention.
Said Matiya: “The move by the minister speaks volumes about the passion he has for sports. During the meeting we had with him, he was shocked when we informed him how low the allowances are.
“So, we are excited that he is backing the athletes’ cause. He understands the unfortunate situation in which they are.”
On his part, Nyamilandu said: “We are grateful that the minister has intervened on the matter and it is sensible because the allowances are way below market rates.
“Of utmost importance is enhancing performance of the players through rewards and incentives. The players need to be remunerated appropriately.” n