FAM says it will establish a Football Legends Association to be responsible for the welfare of legends as well their involvement in mainstream football.
Nyamilandu Manda said this on Thursday morning when he presented a Presidential award certificate to former Flames goalkeeper Dennis Saidi.
Saidi was among the four recipients of the 2023 FAM Presidential awards alongside football Administrator Robina Alufandika, retired FIFA Referee Everson Mkwangwanya and Ascent academy at the FAM Annual General Meeting in Nkhatabay last Saturday.
Nyamilandu said: “It is a very special moment for me to meet Saidi in person. He brought a lot of joy to Malawi fans. I thought it wise and proper to honour him for what he did for club and country. We want to set an example to the current players on what it means when you do great things for the country.
“The legacy must continue from one generation to the next. And this is why we would establish a Football legends Association to ensure that they continue playing their part in the growth of the game.
“Their skills and knowledge must be shared with younger generation. Their old school football and their eye for talent must be utilised. So, if we can incorporate them in our set-up we stand to benefit.
“But I am also mindful about their welfare. Most of them are struggling and the best way can support is to form an association which should be active and go on the market, raise resources to establish a fund and lobby with government so that when they are sick it should be easier to reach them. We don’t want a repeat of what has happened with other legends.”
Saidi was over the moon with the recognition and said: “ Today I am very happy to receive this award and I never expected FAM would do this. I am thankful to the president and the whole FAM. I also welcome his idea to establish a legends association as it will help to provide support to legends. But it will also encourage those playing right now to work hard to achieve that status to become relevant in future when they retire.
In 2015 FAM named one of the rooms at the Mpira Hotel in his honour.
Dennis Saidi is a legendary Goalkeeper who played for Bata Bullets, Now FCB Nyasa Big Bullets and Malawi National Football Team the Flames
He started his international career when he was 20 years old as he travelled with the Malawi Schools in 1974 to play against the Kenyan counterparts.
At that time, he was studying at Namitete Technical School and was playing for Toyota Cranes player and Central Region Schools.
Saidi played his first Flames game under caretaker coach Hydri when he came on as a substitute for John Dzimbiri in a 8-1 loss to neighbors Zambia in Lusaka on the 27 of March 1977.
He retained his place under newly appointed coach George Curtis, where he kept three consecutive clean sheets in two goalless draws and a narrow 1-0 win against Tanzania.
Saidi later became an understudy to late Boniface Maganga under the late British Ted Powell and played in the East and Central Senior Challenge Cup (ECASCC) on 08 December 1977 in a 2-1 victory against Kenya to win the bronze medal.
He continued to understudy Maganga and Dzimbiri, but was called back in the seventh fixture of 1978 during an All-Africa Games Finals in Algiers, Algeria against Egypt
He played in 5 of the ECASCC games and was in goals when Malawi won their first Gold Medal after beating Zambia 3-2 on home soil.
He was also the first-choice goalkeeper as Malawi successfully defended the East AND Central Challenge Cup in Kenya in 1979
His played his last international match on 18 November 1981 in a 2-2 draw against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
In total he played 21 Flames games and kept five clean sheets winning two trophies. He also won several trophies with Bullets.