LILONGWE, Malawi, Mar 13 – Malawi announced it was pulling out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) citing financial constraints and the non-availability of a national team coach.
The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) released a statement after the Malawi government refused the FA permission to hire an expatriate coach.
The FA had proposed the hiring of a foreign coach on a 50-50 cost sharing agreement with government.
After months of consultation, the government through the Ministry of Sport, rejected FAM’s proposal on financial grounds.
A meeting of the FAM executive committee then agreed that Malawi should withdraw from the two continental competitions.
“Having considered all the available options, and in accordance with required notices for withdrawal, it was further resolved that the Malawi National Senior Football team be withdrawn from CHAN Competition by 31st March, and from AFCON by 30th April 2017, due to lack of funding.”
Malawi were drawn against Madagascar in their opening match of the 2018 CHAN qualifying campaign which gets underway in April.
They were set to meet the winners of the tie between Comoros and Mauritius at home on 13 June in their first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Malawi has been without a national coach since September 2016 when Burundian Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan took charge for just one match, leading the Flames to a 1-0 victory over Swaziland in a 2017 Nations Cup qualifier.
He had taken charge following the sacking of Ernest Mtawali in July of the same year.
Malawi’s withdrawal from both the Nations Cup and CHAN is expected to attract a hefty fine from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) but FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda said it would be better to pay the fine than remain in competitions which the country cannot afford.
‘If we are avoiding the fines then it means we should have the finances to participate which are much more huge, so with that we will look around and see how best we can pay the fines”
“We may need to negotiate on paying the fines in instalments although we know it will have to be ourselves (FAM) to foot the fines” he said.