By Chisomo Phiri
Incumbent Football Association of Malawi (FAM) President Walter Nyamilandu has on Thursday evening launched his manifesto titled ‘Bridging the Gap’ for the December 16, 2023 FAM Elections.
Unpacking the manifesto, Nyamilandu disclosed plans to level the sport in the country to be at par with the rest of the world.
“We have raised the bar in our football but we are not satisfied. We want to be at the level our friends in terms of infrastructure, technology, administration, finance, player motivation, commercializing the game, governance you name it.
“We carried out a survey and findings indicate that all these are the gaps. So we want to take our football to another level,” said Nyamilandu.
He promised to introduce Malawi Schools Football Trophy to strengthen youth football with attractive sponsorship beyond K100 million.
Nyamilandu also promised increased contribution towards sponsorship for youth leagues from K80 million to K200 million by 2027 to reinforce U-14, U-17 and U-19 football competitions.
He also promised increased and continued sponsorship for beach soccer which has established a thriving national competition through the HTD Beach Soccer Championship along the shores of Lake Malawi by increasing sponsorship from the current K35 million to K100 million by 2027
On infrastructure development, Nyamilandu said he will construct a 40 000 seater stadium with an inbuilt sports village containing netball, basketball, volleyball courts and athletic running track in Blantyre.
In the quest to promote football in rural areas, the incumbent FAM boss said he will increase sponsorship of the FAM District Cup and the Division One League from K2 million to K5 million per district and K25 million to K50 million per region respectively by 2027.
“Women’s football will continue to be managed as a project in order to accelerate growth and development of the game whilst endeavouring to popularise and develop it from bottom-up so that it becomes a powerful force to reckon with and a strong brand that attracts both the public and private sector,”he said.
He further promised to improve the welfare of female players by enforcing the recommended government minimum wage with favourable conditions of service that are backed by employment contracts as guided by the labour laws, and also continue offering free medical insurance policy to all female players that are registered in the elite league of women’s football.
Nyamilandu also pledged to increase the annual grants of member affiliates from K30 million to K60 million by 2027.
In an effort to motivate national team players,he promised to increase their game bonus to USD1 000, USD500 and USD250 per player for the World Cup, AFCON and COSAFA respectively.
He also indicated that his manifesto offers to improve the welfare of football legends by offering free medical insurance, pension and vocational training using a portion of FAM´s gate earnings.
He finished the presentation of his manifesto by appealing to affiliates to give him another shot as FAM president to fulfil his dreams of transforming football in the country.
He said: “Whilst we are the crossroads, we cannot afford to gamble on who should be at the helm of Malawi football on 16th December 2023, failing which we run the risk of losing all the gains that have been made or sliding backwards. At this defining moment, when I look around you have no choice; and you will lose nothing by according me (Walter MacMillan Nyamilandu Manda) a last term of office because I have proven to be a performer and demonstrated that I am not embarking on trial and error mission. It is my dream to leave a lasting legacy that will put Malawi football on a pedestal for posterity.”
On his part, Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire who was guest of honour at the function called on fans to exercise patience and desist from acts of violence during the campaign period and elections.
“We have witnessed one of our esteemed sons share his vision and plan for football.
“As government we are ready to work with leadership at Football Association of Malawi together as we seek to improve football. As government we will be there to ensure smooth elections. We appeal to everyone to desist from acts of violence,” he said
Nyamilandu Manda is being challenged by Super League of Malawi (SULOM) President, Fleetwood Haiya in the elections which will take place in Mzuzu.