Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) and Malawi National Council of Sports have clashed over preparations for next month’s African Cross Country Championship slated for Cameroon.
Speaking during a national cross country championship on Saturday in Mzuzu, AAM president, Godfrey Phiri, asked well-wishers to assist the association with funding for four athletes and a coach earmarked for the Cameroon trip.
He said the association was supposed to send 10 people to the event with a budget of K20 million, but the financial crisis forced AAM to reduce the number of people to five.
“An air ticket per person to go and come back costs about K800, 000, but the association does not have money that can accommodate such costs. Therefore, we need about K5 million for the guys’ trip only,” Phiri said.
While capitalizing on the presence of Minister of Information, Jappie Mhango and Ruth Mzengo from the council, Phiri asked the two to lobby for considerations from the government.
However, in a separate interview, Mzengo said government is not aware of the trip to Cameroon since AAM did not communicate formally to the council.
“AAM knows the procedure of communicating to the council. In fact, I am getting the news just here,” she said.
Phiri then said the council is aware of the issue and it just needs to be reminded.
“AAM were the first to produce the calendar of events which Sports Council has. The calendar of events indicates all the activities the association will conduct in that year. So, it’s a surprise to me if the council says it knows nothing about the event,” he added.
He said the association gets funding every year for its activities, but it is not enough.
During the event, Tereza Master from Southern Region and Mercy Malembo from Central Region were champions in women’s senior and junior categories respectively.
Each got a medal plus K30, 000 and K20, 000 respectively.
While in the men’s category, Kefasi Kasteni and Albina Tchinga, all from Central Region were champions in seniors and juniors’ categories. Each received a medal plus K30, 000 and K20, 000 respectively.