Malawi President, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, has challenged the national football team to aim higher ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.
Chakwera said this when he hosted the Flames at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Thursday to congratulate the Flames for qualifying for AFCON in Cameroon next year.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) website quotes Chakwera as having said the Flames have been to AFCON before and they should now higher.
“It’s not about celebrating for just qualifying. We have been there before. It’s not just a win or scoring, we have done that before. Aim higher and aim to go further.
So, it is not enough to just participate, aim for something that has never happened before.
“People had no faith in us. We were being treated as underdogs for a long time. But what our opponents didn’t know is that it’s not about the size of the dog but the fight in the dog. Now that we have again qualified, we should not rest on our laurels but aim for the main thing. We have shown that we are achievers and we can do it,” he is quoted saying.
FAM website says Flames captain John Banda thanked Chakwera for hosting the team.
“We thank you for hosting us. This win is a gift to you. As players, we are facing so many challenges, and we would be very grateful if you help us.
“We are requesting that we should be allocated houses or land and also make available special loans for national team players. We also want our bonuses to be increased. And some of us are officers in Security agencies and we want to be promoted,” he is quoted saying.
FAM President Walter Nyamilandu Manda thanked government for its support which has enabled the team to qualify.
“We expect your continued support as we look forward to start preparations for the AFCON finals as well as the 2022 World Cup qualifiers which will start in June. For the AFCON FAM will need about K575 million to prepare and participate in the actual tournament. We will also need about K621 million to fulfil our World Cup Qualifiers.
“However, we would like to request for a change in the Flames funding strategy to allow for direct funding from the Parliament vote allocation which shall ensure that activities and programs of the national team are undertaken without interruptions,” Nyamilandu says.