Less than 24 days before Malawi hosts the Under-17 Cosafa Cup Championship from October 11 to 20, the local organising committee (LOC) has been hit by financial constraints which are affecting implementation of its plans.
The committee’s chairperson Jabbar Alide, who is also Football Association of Malawi (FAM) head of competitions sub-committee, said they have only met once due to lack of funds.
“I must say that because of the delays in funding, we are finding ourselves a bit of constrained to fully implement some of the activities full throttle,” he said.
The FAM executive member said funding priority went to the national football team’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Botswana.
“We were told that the funding will be done on priority basis and the national team was the first priority. Because of that, the local organising committee hasn’t met again after meeting for the first time,” said Alide.
However, he was confident that the LOC will beat the deadline set and be ready for the hosting of the event.
“The bottom line is that we understand the position we are in. The national team had to travel to fulfil World Cup qualifiers. Right now, the National Budget Parliament session is in progress. So, we understand the situation we are in and we are making the most of it to ensure that there is progress,” said Alide.
So far, the LOC’s head said they had secured accommodation for teams and Cosafa delegation.
“The list of negotiated designated accommodation has been shared with Cosafa, who will be responsible for that. As for the work at Chiwembe’s Mpira Satdium, one thing that was critical was the perimeter wall and the report I have is that it is progressing well and I hope it will finish on time.
“There was also the issue of training grounds. We have managed to identify some training grounds in Blantyre, including the Kamuzu Stadium.
“We also have a designated officer from the Immigration Department, who is the contact point on all issues about the teams and delegation coming for the tournament. He will be on stand-by to attend to all delegates entering the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cosafa is expected to inspect Malawi’s facilities for the hosting of the Cosafa Under-17 Championship early next month.
Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said the regional body’s envoy will be jetting into the country the first week of October for the exercise.
He said they have been in touch with the local organising committee and they are impressed with the progress made.
“So far, so good. We are on the right track and I hope it will be a good inspection,” he said.
Malawi, Angola, Comoros, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia will participate in the tournament.