Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu’s decision to seek a fifth term at the association’s elections in December has drawn mixed reactions.
His critics say the Fifa Council member has nothing more to offer to the football fraternity while those for him believe he needs to stay on and complete his projects.
Since the FAM president declared his interest to seek re-election via a televised statement on major media houses on Tuesday evening, the social media has been awash with opinions on the matter.
Nyamilandu, who has been FAM president for 15 years, stated that he wants to finish his projects and also to ensure that his term at Fifa Council runs simultaneously with his presidency at FAM so that the country can benefit through football development.
“My decision to seek re-election has also been reinforced by the desire to continue to make significant contributions to my beloved country following my appointment as a member of the Fifa Council,” he said.
Former Nyasa Big Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire punched holes into Nyamilandu’s reasoning that he needs to be FAM president in order to be Fifa Council member or that his position at the world football governing body has benefitted Malawi.
“We have other Fifa Council members who are not FA presidents. Tarek Bouchamaoui, Almamy Kabele Camara, Lydia Nsekera, Constant Omari Selemani, Hany Abo Rida are not FA presidents in their respective countries.
“On claims that Malawi will benefit from his position at Fifa, can he be specific on what we have benefitted or stand to benefit in future. Otherwise, all we are seeing here is a personnal ambition and not for the country,” he said.
Questions have also arisen on the FAM president’s trustworthiness having repeatedly said he is bowing out at the end of his fourth term in December.
Soccer analyst George Chiusiwa observed that Nyamilandu had betrayed people’s trust.
“When you have politicians in football leadership you can’t just trust them. But the common good in our football should have been a primary consideration,” he said.
Commenting on the FAM president’s statement posted on Nation Facebook page, Charles Muuni Kabambe wondered whether the incumbent can bring any difference after 15 years in power.
He said: “What is it that he has done that has completely turned around our football? We are still struggling even to win the Cosafa Cup, qualify for African Nations Championship [Chan]. Our junior teams are a laughing stock. Now we are beaten by Lesotho, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles and anyone who dares us. The sponsorship he is boasting about is good, but what has changed afterwards?”
But Andrew Jamu felt Nyamilandu still deserves another term to complete his mission.
“You deserve another term Walter. The work of your hands speaks for you. We were there when our football was almost at zero in 2004 but you took us to Africa Cup of Nations in 2010, the under-17 to the Fifa World Cup as well as getting sponsorship from TNM, Airtel, Fisd and FDH.
“Don’t forget Mpira Village and Chiwembe Technical Centre. You also introduced youth football leagues. You are already a tested president and you have shown to us your capabilities of taking football to greater heights,” he said.
Nyamilandu has been commended for initiating infrastructure development, especially at Chiwembe’s Mpira Village in Blantyre and also for bringing corporate governance at the secretariat.
However, William Soko felt this is not enough since Malawi national football team is still an underdog in the region.
“People need Malawi football action on the ground to improve and not the buildings. If he wants to take Malawi football to the next level where was he for the past 15 good years?” he said.
But Given Kazembe holds the view that since Nyamilandu is eligible to contest, the affiliates have a choice whether to elect him or not.
“They vote for him, he carries the day, they don’t, off he goes,” he said.
Others that have shown interest in the FAM presidency are FAM first vice-president James Mwenda, former first vice-president Moses Mkandawire and Karonga United chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga Banda.
Nominations for the elections start this month.