Malawi National Council of Sports has ordered sports associations to play the National Anthem’s three verses during national team matches amidst reports that some of them were refusing to do so because it is long.
In a letter we have seen dated November 9 2023 signed by Sports Council executive secretary Shephord Boma, addressed to all sports associations, the council says it had noted that some associations were playing only the first verse of the National Anthem.
The letter reads: “Council has information that some sports associations are refusing to sing all the three national anthem verses during national team matches, saying its long and it may delay the match.
“Council is reminding you to sing all National Anthem verses as it is approved by the law. Hope you will abide to this rule.”
The development comes just after the Queens returned from New Zealand where they sung the old version during the Fast5 Netball Series. The team lost all its matches to finish last.
Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, who face Liberia in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier tomorrow, have also been using the old version during recent matches at Cosafa Cup in South Africa as well as the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Sports Council board chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise in an interview said singing the national anthem in full is a must.
He said: “Everyone knows the correct national anthem has three verses. The President [Lazarus Chakwera] made that directive in 2022.
“Those who are refusing to do so are breaking the law. They are defying a Presidential directive and it is a serious offence.”
NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala confirmed receiving the letter from Sports Council and promised to start singing all the three verses.
He said: “The only reason we have not been using the full version is because we don’t have it.
“I am sure Sports Council has it and they will share with us.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they will ensure they will sing the full national anthem when the team faces Liberia tomorrow.
He said: “We got the letter. We have been reminded and we will abide by that. We will look for the appropriate version.
“I am sure the Ministry of Information or Sports Council has the correct version which they will share.
“We will go back to the authorities to give us the version so that we will play them.”
During commemoration of National Day of Unity and Dialogue in October 2022 in Lilongwe, Chakwera stressed that the national anthem must be sung in full at all occassions.
The President said in October 20222 in Lilongwe, the first verse of the National Anthem is a call to prayer for God to bless Malawi while the third verse encourages Malawians to unite.
“It is for this reason that I make a declaration that the national anthem must be sang in full at all occasions for it was designed to not just be a prayer to God to bless us but also be a call to unity to make that blessing real,” he said during the event.