Sports Council on Tuesday got on the nerves of Flames coach Kinnah Phiri when sheriffs seized his personal vehicle to recover money the coach was erroneously paid by government.
The incident affected the Flamesâ€™ preparations for next monthâ€™s 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Kenya and Nigeria. The Flames did not train in the afternoon as Kinnah and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) tried to sort out the issue.
According to investigations by The Nation, Sports Council instituted legal proceedings against Kinnah to recover K900 000 (about $3 600) which remains outstanding from K1.3 million (about $5 200) that was incorrectly paid to him.
But the vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, was confiscated when Kinnah was being deducted K100 000 (about $400) a month to recover the money.
A source confided in The Nation that while the contracts of the national coach, his deputy Young Chimodzi and technical director Jack Chamangwana were being processed by government, Sports Council committed to pay the three part of their monthly salaries on the understanding that the money would be deducted from their salaries.
“Apparently, there was a communication breakdown and the three tacticians were not being deducted the money at first.
“But it was agreed that the money [provided by Sports Council] would be recovered in form of loans. Chimodzi and Chamangwana already serviced their loans whereas Kinnah was still in the process of paying on a monthly basis.
“However, it would appear Sports Council became uncomfortable because Kinnahâ€™s contract was drawing towards the end and they thought they would not be able to recover the whole amount. That is when they [Sports Council] took up the matter with the court through their lawyers,” said the source.
Kinnah confirmed the development on Wednesday, saying he was upset with councilâ€™s conduct.
“The way they treated me was inhuman. It was as if they were dealing with a criminal, and not their employee. It seems it was something personal because this issue was already discussed and government was already deducting K100 000 [$400] from my salary and so far I have repaid K400 000 [$1 600]. After all, this was not our problem.
“Even if my contract is heading towards the end, the agreement was that they [Sports Council] would recover the money from my gratuity,” said Kinnah.
He said he has sought the intervention of the minister (Enock Chakufwa Chihana) and FAM president Walter Nyamilandu.
“Both the minister and the [FAM] president have assured me that they will intervene on the matter. But I am not amused by the councilâ€™s action,” said Kinnah.
Chihana could not be reached for comment yesterday whereas Nyamilandu said FAM will be in a position to comment after getting details of the matter.
Chamangwana also described the incident as unfortunate.
“It was not out of our own making. The problem is that there are certain quarters that have no respect for us. They just look at us as anyamata ampira awa [just footballers], which is unfortunate. I fail to understand how they could treat a national coach like that? It is embarrassing and degrading,” said Chamangwana.
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said they had agreed not to comment on the matter.
“Talk to Kinnah himself, he should be able to explain. We will not say anything about it,” said Jana.
Kinnahâ€™s two-year contract expires at the end of next month.
A football commentator and former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza-Masina said the development can be described as a hint that Kinnahâ€™s contract might not be renewed.
“This is their [Council] own employee. If they are confiscating his vehicle, the picture they are painting is that they will not extend his contract,” said Kaudza-Masina.