BY Pilirani Kachinziri
10:31:19 – 05 February 2008
Tanzania Football Federation has incurred a heavy loss of 15 million shillings following Malawi’s decision to cancel on the 11th hour the proposed strength-testing match which was scheduled for tomorrow February 6.
Malawi was expected to travel to Tanzania on Saturday for the match but they withdrew last minute on bizarre circumstances.
Fam said they failed to assemble a team after some foreign-based players failed to show up for the training because their clubs were not notified in good time.
Fifa rules stipulate that clubs should be notified at least 15 days in advance before releasing the player.
Fam acting Chief Executive Officer Sugzo Nyirenda made a stunning revelation that they were afraid of consequences that could befell on them after taking a makeshift team to Tanzania who could probably lose to the Taifa Stars.
Monday’s edition of the Guardian, a Tanzania newspaper, quoted their FA general secretary as saying that they had already paid for the hotel accommodation and return air tickets for the Flames delegation.
“We spent 15 million shillings for buying air tickets and booking their accommodation,” he said.
He said the TFF was negotiating with Air Malawi to see if part of the money could be reimbursed.
Meanwhile, the Taifa Stars were reported to still be in camp looking for an alternative of the Flames in the region.
The Taifa Stars started training on Saturday under the tutelage of their Brazilian coach Marcio Maximo.
But Nyirenda said he had information that Taifa Stars went into camp three weeks ago and they had tried to contact other teams for friendly games but they refused.
“They tried Malawi as a last resort,” he said.
Nyirenda said they were given the notice at a short time and it was difficult to raise a team.
But he also told The Daily Times that Sports Minister Khumbo Kachale’s sentiments that government was more than willing to approve extra funding for the Flames’ 2010 World Cup qualifiers preparations on condition that they start winning games jolted Fam to cancel the Tanzania trip.
In his speech on Friday when he presented a vehicle to the national team coach Stephen Constantine, the minister pointed out that it would be difficult for him to convince government to approve extra funds for the Flames if they continued losing games.
Fam last month wrote the sports ministry asking for an extra K10 million to supplement the association’s remaining K35 million from the K55 million annual allocation.
Nyirenda revealed on Sunday that fear of consequences of taking a makeshift team to Tanzania, who would probably lose to Taifa Stars, haunted the association.
“Tanzania have been in camp for the past three weeks and there was no chance of us winning against them with only the local players,” he is quoted as saying.
“We had no choice but to cancel the trip although we are aware that we have missed a golden opportunity. There was no way we could have gone on with the trip if the minister’s speech on Friday was anything to go by. It would have been a disaster if we had gone to Tanzania and lost.”
When quizzed why they accepted the invitation and went to call for camp training with just a week from date of the friendly match Nyirenda had said: “It was management by crisis. We were hoping everything would be fine but that was never the case.”
“Anyway, it’s good that we have learned a lesson. Every day is a learning day and next time we will make sure that we don’t repeat such mistakes.”