Crippling financial problems have compelled Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) to bank on the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) for the training of seven athletes earmarked for Saturday’s African Cross Country Championships in Algeria.
The athletes were initially scheduled to go into camp on March 1 but AAM’s failure to raise resources meant that the training could not take off.
The association’s General Secretary, Frank Chitembeya, said MDF had opened up to civilian athletes to join their military colleagues in the preparations.
“The camp training did not work out as planned because of financial challenges. So we asked MDF to allow civilian athletes to join their military colleagues who were already in camp by then. This is the path we have taken to prepare our team,” Chitembeya.
An official in MDF’s sports section, Peter Genti, confirmed the camp training, saying it was an initiative aimed at keeping the athletes in shape while waiting for AAM to mobilise resources.
Ministry of Sports Principal Secretary, Joseph Mwandidya, pledged during last month’s national cross country championship that government would fund the athletes’ trip.
But Director of Sports in the ministry, Jameson Ndalama, said he needed to get an update on what had happened.
“This will be a special arrangement as athletics exhausted its annual allocation in the budget. So I need to find out,” Ndalama said.
Malawi will be represented at the tournament by Kefas Kasten, Chancy Master, Happy Mcherenje, Gervazio Mpani, Cecilia Mhango, Stafiel Chitedze and Moneyi Chingaipe.
The athletes are expected to leave on Tuesday with Head Coach Francis Munthali and Team Manager John Mwathiwa.