Most associations have no strategic plans

Only six sports associations have comprehensive strategic plans that are a necessity for getting annual subvention from the government.

Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) sports development manager Ruth Mzengo said the development could lead to over 30 disciplines risking their annual subvention once Parliament approves the national budget following the council’s announcement in January that government will stop funding sports programmes that are not highlighted in the associations’ strategic plans.

She said Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Netball Association of Malawi (NAM), Malawi Aquatic Union (MAU), Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM), Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) and Malawi Cricket Union (MCU) have strategic plans that clearly outline and analyse their mission.

“Most associations are yet to come up with the necessary strategic plans and that is worrisome,” Mzengo said.

She said some of the associations were “sent back” after coming up with “one-page calendar of events” which they submitted as their ‘strategic plans’. 

“This has prompted us to visit the associations one by one to give them proper guidance on how they can come up with comprehensive plans as some administrators lack capacity,” she said.

However, some associations cited financial challenges as the reason for failing to come up with strategic plans.

Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) general secretary Frank Chitembeya yesterday said since government stopped funding sports associations’ gatherings such as annual general meetings (AGMs), it is difficult for them to come together to formulate the document.

“The formulation of a strategic plan requires a lot of consultations and input and that can only happen when you are financially stable,” he said.  

“Government’s decision to stop funding associations’ meetings was supposed to be properly defined because some gatherings are important for programme implementation. We cannot make programmes without people coming together to bang heads.”

Malawi Handball Association (Maha) general secretary Dennis Kumwenda concurred with Chitembeya that in the absence of government’s financial support, most associations do not have corporate sponsorship.

“Strategic plan is not an easy thing you can just make out of the blues. Our concern is that we need to mobilise funds to come together and come up with a comprehensive document,” he said.

“Tentatively, we have sent our calendar of events for 2019 and 2020 to the council. On our strategic plan, we are still working on it and hopefully within a measurable period, we will be able to submit to the council.”

Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) president Hamlet Kamtengeni said they are in the process of revising their strategic plan.

Nevertheless, associations that have formulated their strategic plans said it was not an easy task, but it was a necessity for their growth.

“We realise that football standards cannot improve if we ignore the importance of having a strategic plan,” FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said.

He said among FAM’s four-year plans are the creation of integrated youth leagues (Under-15, 17 and 20) culminating into junior national teams to build a strong national team, commercialisation to generating supplementary income and infrastructure development leading to the completion of state of the art stadium at Chiwembe, continued rehabilitation of Chilomoni Stadium and refurbishment of Luwinga Technical Centre in Mzuzu.

NAM president Khungekile Matiya said the netball governing body has highlighted in its plans the introduction of nationwide junior leagues, the construction of an indoor court, the hiring of Malawi Queens’ permanent coach and recruiting of a marketing officer to boost their commercialisation drive. 

According to economist Chiku Kalilombe, consultants charge between K1 million and K14 million to help organisations formulate strategic plans.

He, however, said sometimes the formulation does not require many resources “only that lack of will among some sports administrators as expertise within their bodies can do the job”.

Kalilombe said: “It might not be the perfect one but at least each association should have a plan that guides them on how to move forward in their operations.”

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