The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has taken note of the concerns of Malawian football fans and all other stakeholders with regard to some unimpressive results which our national football team, The Flames, has registered recently.
FAM profoundly shares and understands the unhappiness of the public and acknowledges that the recent results should have been better. FAM takes this discontent as a demonstration of the burning desire which Malawians have to see our flag carrier, The Flames, post sustained success in the various tournaments it participates in.
FAM is encouraged by this desire and wishes to assure all Malawians that it is doing everything in its capacity to ensure that The Flames deliver results the team is capable of.
While FAM has confidence in the methods that it is implementing to ensure that this goal is achieved, the football body realizes that it also requires the support of all various stakeholders for the attainment of these desired outcomes.
On this note, FAM wishes to express its deepest concern to some developments in relation to the match between Malawi and Egypt national football teams played at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Tuesday, 28 March 2023. FAM believes these developments have the potential to jeorpadize the efforts the nation is taking towards achieving enduring football success:
- Disrespect for the players
FAM is seriously concerned at the lack of respect which some sections of the Malawian football fans have shown to The Flames’ players on account of the recent results in the two back-to-back games against Egypt and also in a friendly match against Lesotho in February 2023.
In both cases, some fans have been pouring degrading and hurtful comments on the players face to face, on social media and through other avenues.
In the latest case after the Egypt game in Lilongwe, players suffered an avalanche of verbal insults from people along the route as the team travelled from Lilongwe to Blantyre.
As indicated, FAM shares the pain these recent results have caused, but it does not believe that this is a true reflection of the capabilities of the team.
It should be remembered that alongside several other positive results on the way, this is the same team that brought pride to the nation at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon just a year ago.
FAM believes that Malawi has, thus far, nurtured a team of talented players who are capable of bringing desired results at any level – given the right technical and moral assistance.
FAM therefore urges all Malawians to show respect to the players and give the team the support it requires to build on the achievements it has registered thus far.
We call upon all Malawians to remember that these players are fellow citizens discharging a national duty on our behalf and, as such, they would benefit enormously from being treated with dignity.
On its part, FAM, in consultation with the Government and other stakeholders, is taking the necessary bold steps to bolster the technical requirements of the team for it to flourish and register consistent positive results for the nation.
- Unpatriotic behaviour of fans
FAM is utterly shocked at the behaviour of some sections of the Malawian fans in the stadium who cheered the Flames’ opponents instead of giving their support to our national team.
FAM noted with concern that this was a continuation of unpatriotic behaviour which started with the game against Lesotho in February.
Cheering visiting teams at the expense of your own team is not only irresponsible and despicable but it is also a stab in the back of the national cause to uplift the sport. Worse still, it is a show of total disrespect to the individual players in the national team who are always putting in their all to bring pride to the nation.
FAM would like to remind all Malawians that however brilliant a blueprint the country can have to develop the sport, it will come to naught if fans deprive the national team their individual and collective moral support both in the best of the times and in the darkest of the hours.
- Acts of hooliganism
FAM is extremely disappointed with and condemns in the strongest terms the behaviour of some fans who perpetrated acts of violence, pelting objects at the pitch and the stands.
Over the years, Malawian football fans and FAM have collaborated to root out violence at matches and have made incredible progress in that respect.
Unfortunately, the incident at Bingu National Stadium last week risks eroding the gains we have painstakingly achieved together.
FAM reminds football fans that this barbaric behaviour is against the law governing football here in Malawi and all around the world and can have dire consequences which include tough sanctions. Besides, hooliganism risks destroying our national desire to promote football and it is damaging to the family spirit and the nationalism which the game inspires.
FAM further reminds all Malawians that they have a civic duty to ensure a sustained good reputation for the game by always desisting from and stopping all manner of violence at football venues and around all football events.
- Display of banners and placards
FAM noted with concern a clearly organised campaign of malice against FAM President Mr Walter Nyamilandu through placards and banners flashed out by some fans depicting hate messages against him.
FAM condemns these personal attacks on Mr Nyamilandu who is always devoting his efforts as a citizen and football administrator to ensure that The Flames brings honour to the nation.
Those engineering such a campaign also need to know that such behaviour can attract FIFA and CAF sanctions as the two bodies do not allow display of such banners and placards without their authorization.
We would like to underscore that such unsolicited placards and banners that are bearing hateful messages are inciting violence and destabilising what should have been a peaceful and highly entertaining football events.
On account of previous trends in FAM elections year and assuming that this was organized by those who eyes Mr Nyamilandu’s position, FAM reminds those who arranged this campaign that Mr Nyamilandu is working as FAM President within the law governing football and that anyone who craves his position should wait for an election.
FAM reminds all Malawians that it has an open-door policy and is always available for a civilized engagement with those who have solid ideas for the good of the sport in the country.
FAM does not believe that these rabble-rousing, electioneering tactics serve the interests of football anywhere in the world and, as such, it strongly condemns such uncultured methods as they damage football.
FAM strongly believes that with the right, sustained and patriotic support, The Flames can deliver the results we all crave for.
FAM wishes to assure all Malawians that, with their support, it will do everything in its powers to make sure that football prospers in Malawi and that our national football teams deliver positive results and bring glory to the nation.
On this note, FAM would like to express its profound gratitude to the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Sports and Malawi National Council of Sports and all other authorities in their individual capacities, and to the various stakeholders for their unflinching support to FAM’s agenda to grow the game in the country.
Similarly, FAM urges all Malawians to rally behind this national cause so that together we bring pride to our nation.
For further information please contact:
FAM Communications Department