FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated President Walter Nyamilandu Manda on game’s progress in Malawi.
Infantino met Nyamilandu at FIFA’s Paris bureau on Wednesday and discussed the highly encouraging development of youth and women’s football in the African country.
Aided by FIFA Forward funds, the renovations to the FAM technical centre in Blantyre have given national teams improved facilities in which to prepare.
The victory of the women’s national team in the COSAFA Women’s Championship last weekend – Malawi’s first such title – follows on the back of their runners-up finish two years earlier and shows how ‘the Scorchers’ in particular have benefitted.
Malawi were crowned the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship winners for the first time.
Women’s football growth continues in Southern Africa backed by FIFA support.
Many of that team are in their ‘teens, and youth development is also a particular focus of the FAM, which has ploughed Forward funding into grassroots football. The academy in Mzuzu is currently undergoing phased improvements, while Malawi is one of 100 member associations to have launched the FIFA Football for Schools project aimed at giving children skills for life as well as football.
“I must congratulate my friend Walter on the fantastic work he and his team are doing to develop football in Malawi,” said the FIFA President. “From a solid financial platform, they have made great use of FIFA Forward funds to complete a number of projects, and already have more in the pipeline. They are giving every talent at every level the opportunity to flourish, and their efforts to boost women’s football, in particular, are really pleasing and very clearly bearing fruit.”
FIFA Forward funding, which has increased seven-fold since the start of Mr Infantino’s presidency in 2016, has also helped FAM develop a U-14 and U-16 national league and enabled improvements across Malawi’s football landscape, including providing support to district competitions in order to develop the deep pool of talent in rural areas.
President Nyamilandu – a former FIFA Council member who currently sits on the CAF Executive Committee – explained how grateful FAM is for FIFA’s backing.
“It means a lot. One, we’re able to look after our operations, look after the members of staff that are administering football. But more importantly, we’re able to implement development programmes for boys and girls.
“We’re also able to look after elite football, and we are now on a journey of professionalising the elite league, so we’ve rolled out club licensing, supporting the clubs as much as we can, so without the FIFA Forward funding, we would not be able to implement these programmes,” he explained.
“In the past, we were not able to have grassroots football, we didn’t have youth football development programmes because the money wasn’t enough. But when the funding increased substantially, we’re now going into setting up structures and systems on the ground.”