Very proud of Malawi football
As I write this, the unconventional Malawi football season -- which is usually at the mercy of the very few sponsors, who can decide when or not to release their sacred cash, thereby compromising the calendar -- has ended.
Escom United are the top-flight Super League’s champions, even though they have no time to uncork the champagne -- they have lost their sponsorship from Escom, an equivalent of Eskom in South Africa.
As you read this, Northern Region army outfit Moyale Barracks FC are the 2010/11 Standard Cup champions, while government-sponsored side Civo United have the Presidential Cup in their trophy cabinet at the capital, Lilongwe.
Just as has been the story for the better part of this decade, the season has ended with more sad developments, especially concerning the rate at which sponsorship is being lost.
The other sad part is how Malawi football administration is so indifferent to recommendations from international football experts to professionalise the game.
In a nutshell, Malawi football is suffering because it still being run on a semi-professional basis where most football administrators claim to be volunteers. Football in Malawi simply cannot sustain itself financially.
You may think I’m the latest prophet of doom for Malawi football. Well, I’m not. I’m very proud to declare that I love Malawi football to the core. I laugh at all those who have deserted our football stadiums opting for the better English Premier League.
It makes sense to associate with organised things. I do not condone mediocrity either. But I do not believe that the best way to deal with trash on your doorstep is to sneak out using the backdoor and enjoy the cleaner environment at your neighbours’ compound.
Weird as it may sound, but whenever a top English Premier League’s fixture clashes with the Super League I go local. I believe the greatest contribution one can make is to your country.
I believe my presence adds numbers at the stadium and makes the atmosphere one man livelier. I believe I am as part of the solution as I am part of the Malawi football problem. Only a Malawian can make the Malawi football problem better.
In fact, the quality of football this season was not all that bad, considering that most players entered the fields very disillusioned, going for months on end without being paid.
Call it blind patriotism but where we lack on better facilities, organisation and money, we have the natural, inborn skill of players to compensate for the shortfalls.
That is why Malawi, with its domestic football struggles, exports fine talent like Robin Ngalande to Atletico Madrid via Mamelodi Sundowns. If there be credit on Sundowns, then it is on the platform they offered the starlet. Otherwise, he was already a gem waiting to be discovered.
With the shambolic state of our football, I’m glad that we can export young striker Luka Milanzi to TP Mazembe. You only need to look at the quality of Peter Mponda and Robert Ng’ambi, among many other underrated Malawian players in South Africa, to appreciate this fact.
It is through individual brilliance that Malawi largely still qualifies for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, Africa Youth Championship finals and even the World Youth Cup finals.
I have never doubted Malawi players’ individual brilliance. If I have doubts then they are on the sincerity of our football administrators to the cause of Malawi football.
If I have questions then they are on the logic of many Malawians, who have deserted their game in preference of a foreign league, only to come back when the Flames have qualified for the Nations Cup, among other championships. I call it hypocrisy.