FAM President Walter Nyamilandu Manda said the inclusive football academy at Luwinga in Mzuzu is good to go following positive feedback from the FIFA and the Agence Francaise de Developmente (AFD).
The delegation led by FIFA Director Member Association Africa Gelson Fernandes held a series of meetings with various stakeholders on the establishment of the academy before inspecting the site at the Luwinga Technical Centre.
Nyamilandu Manda said the feedback from the stakeholders and FIFA is encouraging and FAM is ready complete the processes of setting up the academy.
“The first Cohort will be looking at Under 14 and Under 16,. You give those players 10 years and if we do our things correctly without shortcuts, if we bring best players and right coaching, we should be able to produce good national team”
“We will scrutinize our progress after four years when they reach Under17 level, that will give us hope that we are on the right track then Under 20 and progress into the senior national team” he added.
Nyamilandu further said he believes that the coming in of the academy will help to produce high quality talent that can excel at international level.
“We’ve seen west Africans excelling in African Nations Cup and World Cup because they have excellent talent and we’ve always believe that academy is one way how we can bridge this gap”
“We’ve already seen alot of progress with some of the local academies that have been set here, we had Sure stream, we now have Ascent Academy from that they have done in a short period”
“But now we are talking about a fully-fledged football Academy which will be inclusive players staying together, learning, education, playing football and be taught how to grow up in a well balanced life style so we are excited about this project which will transform the landscape of Malawi football”
Fernandez said FIFA selected Malawi together with Mauritania and Djibouti for a number of reasons including quality of administration in the three FA’s.
“We opened applications to the whole continent but Malawi together with Mauritania and Djibouti were selected due to their quality of administration, stability within their federations and they showed their potential in as far as football development is concerned” said Fernandez.
However, Fernandez said he wants to see results, success and proud people on young football through the project.
The programme is intended to make use of football’s ability to teach life skills such as commitment and teamwork. It aims to prepare academy players to be future citizens, bearing in mind that only a tiny proportion will become professional footballers, and broaden their economic and professional horizons.
The delegation met stakeholders from the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender, National Youth Football Association, National Football Coaches Association, Unesco and Unicef in Lilongwe on 1st November and Northern Region stakeholders in Mzuzu on 2nd November.