The clocking is slowly winding down to 14th December 2019 which will be zero hour in Malawi when the delegates of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) elect to either keep the long-serving incumbent Walter Nyamilandu or bring in fresh blood in the form of Vice-President James Mwenda to the Presidency of the organization.
Nyamilandu, who simultaneously sits on the FIFA Council since October 2018 and by that virtue, automatically also sits on the CAF Exco, has held the FAM seat for 16 years (4 consecutive terms) and thus will be seeking a 5th term to round off his particular brand of leadership to a neat 20 years.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was scheduled to visit Malawi as part of his latest Africa tour last week, wisely and surprisingly cancelled the trip after it became apparent that the entire World was watching this move (just 2 weeks to an election of a member of the FIFA Council) and the possibility of perception of election interference.
More pragmatically, he chose to side-step Malawi after he learnt that delegates were primed for his visit after news leaked that he would be carrying with him cash tokens for each of the 36 delegates to the tune of $ 10,000, in order to influence the outcome of the vote.
The FAM delegates currently feel that they genuinely need to spread their risk and diversify their leadership portfolio, because Nyamilandu is already in the FIFA Council, they believe it is also time to have another person benefit from similar experience in COSAFA, CAF and FIFA.
Cleverly, they feel that it would be better to have 2 (two) senior football officials in different capacities, therefore opening up more opportunities for Malawians.
The reasoning is quite sound too, imagine Malawian football now suddenly having Nyamilandu on the FIFA Council and the CAF Exco while simultaneously having Mwenda represent Malawi on the CAF and FIFA congresses, COSAFA and domestically.
Delegates feel that the duo of Nyamilandu and Mwenda would be a very influential tag-team in tackling the Malawi Government and unlocking the purse-strings to fund the fading Malawi Flames and other National teams that suffer withdrawal from tournaments for lack of such funding.
Realistically, delegates also feel that both Government and corporate Malawi currently suffers familiarity fatigue from dealing with the exact same person in that representative position for donkey years.
Meanwhile, National Presidents, Sports Ministers, company CEOs have come and departed in that period while FAM remains apparently stuck in a leadership rut.
A question has been posed in Malawi Government and corporate circles, “have Malawian women stopped giving birth to capable heirs to the football seat?”
A new face would probably also renew and rejuvenate waning sentiments and rekindle the football desires in the people of Malawi.
However, the question of the missing $10,000 per delegate lingers now that Infantino has cancelled his trip and most are suspicious that the wads of cash may have been entrusted to Nyamilandu to distribute to the delegates, yet up to now…NOTHING!
This brings up the issue of delegates mistrust of Nyamilandu who has not kept a single election promise over his 16-year tenure at the helm of FAM. They doubt that it will be 5th time lucky with him and that this leopard will likely not change its spots at this time.
Infantino obviously likes Nyamilandu, who wouldn’t like someone who can survive on earth without a spine?
Nyamilandu is useful for various voting reasons both in the CAF Exco and FIFA Council, case in point, the recent decision to award the hosting rights to the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 to China in absolute contravention of FIFA’s own Human Rights policy that include a Human Rights risk assessment and an open tendering process to determine who would host the inaugural expanded competition.
Moreover, Nyamilandu would gladly vote any way Infantino wants even if the net effect of such a vote would be to undermine the African biennial flagship competition – AFCON, which CAF recently moved to the European summer period of June-July.
The CWC would coincide with the AFCON 2021 meaning that top African players who ply their trade in overseas clubs would likely not be released to take part in the AFCON, and thus mimicking the exact same problem that CAF intended to avoid with the summer move.
This decision, already opposed by the European Club Association, means that the CWC would be played every 4 years to replace the Confederations Cup in the summer months of June-July beginning in 2021.
This would place the competition in direct clash with Cameroon 2021 and Guinea 2025 competitions. CAF have attempted to finesse this idiocy by using Cameroonian weather as a scapegoat to change AFCON dates once more from the June-July slot.
In order to sweeten the deal for CAF and the 54 African FAs so that they may blindly agree to cannibalize their own competition and independent source of funds, Infantino has now proposed to procure $1Billion to implement an infrastructure upgrade in each FA.
This is where Infantino needs the likes of Nyamilandu to blindly sanction such injustices, who will then cascade the lunacy to the CAF Exco before getting it endorsed by the CAF Congress.
The only way to ensure that all African players are represented in the AFCON would be for CAF to adopt the 4-year annual cycle beginning 2020, 2024, 2028…thereby signaling the death of the biennial AFCON.
You can therefore imagine the uniformity of thought and opinion to have Nyamilandu represent Africa at both FIFA and CAF, then switch gears to be the automatic representative of Malawi in the COSAFA, CAF and FIFA congresses.
A single error of reasoning on his part would have a catastrophic effect on the entire body politick of African football as has already been evidenced by these decisions taken to the detriment of CAF.
Whilst it will probably take decades to undo the harm caused by the shambolic leadership of CAF President Ahmad and his minions like Moroccan Fouzi Lekjaa, Congolese Constant Omari and FIFA President Infantino, the tree of freedom must constantly be watered by the blood of patriots.
New brooms always sweep cleaner and probably a change is what FAM and Malawi Football really needs now and the decision now rests with the delegates.
— FIFA Colonialism Website (@FIFAColonialism) December 4, 2019