As a mere Malawian and above all, football fan, South Africa-based, Shepherd Bushiri— who is well-known in the religious circles as a prophet— Friday donated K44 million to Malawi national football team in Blantyre.
“This donation is not coming from me as a prophet, but just like a human being, a family man and a Malawian. There is nothing like a miracle win for the Flames. I love football. I love the Flames,” said Bushiri, who made the donation after being approached by Flames coach, Ernest Mtawali.
Bushiri flew from Johannesburg Friday specifically to make the donation at Football Association of Malawi’s Mpira Village in Blantyre, to enable the Flames meet their K45 million short-fall for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations’ Group L qualifiers against Guinea.
Bushiri has since opened his door to continued support to football, stressing that he was not motivated by a win or a loss for the Flames, who will play in Guinea on Tuesday and host the West Africans on Friday at Kamuzu Stadium.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the donation was timely as the association had a shortfall in their K120 million budget for the two games.
“We are very grateful and we hope for a miracle win in Guinea. We thank our national coach for helping source this donation. The money is already in our account and we will seek guidance from Capital Hill,” said Nyirenda amid reports that government had querried the donation.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Grace Chiumia, Friday, while hailing Bushiri for the financial support, said he was misled into not following proper procedures of doing so through Malawi National Council of Sports, the Sports Ministry then the Ministry of Finance.
“When requesting for the donation, he was supposed to write to the Sports Council,
which would have contacted my ministry to hand over the money to the Ministry of Finance for the sake of accountability and transparency,” Chiumia said.
“We appreciate the donation, but they misguided the prophet. As a ministry we got the message late and we could not make it to the function, so it is like we are undermining the prophet. If procedures were followed, we would have been there.”
Earlier, Mtawali unveiled a 20-member squad dominated by 13 foreign-based players.
Mtawali once again proved to be a man of surprises as he dropped Botswana-based attacker Gerald Phiri Jnr and Mozambique-based goalkeeper Simplex Nthala, meaning that either Blue Eagles’ John Soko or Silver Striker’s new signing Brighton Munthali will man the posts in Guinea.
The inexperienced Munthali and Soko were surprise inclusions in the squad alongside Silver Strikers’ wonderboy, Wonder Jeremani.
The recalled experienced brigade include Joseph Kamwendo, Harry Nyirenda, Frank Gabadinho Mhango, Zicco Mkanda and Francis Mlimbika, who have never played under Mtawali.
From Mtawali’s usual regular starting XI that used to be dominated by locals, the survivors were Isaac Kaliyati, Miracle Gabeya, Stanley Sanudi, Schumacher Kuwali and Chiukepo Mtawali.