Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the delay in having Flames new kit and replicas before the start of the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) has been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
On October 29, 2021, FAM unveiled a new kit for the Flames during a fundraising dinner organised by the State House but with less than three days to go before the tournament begins in Cameroun, the kit and the replicas are nowhere to be seen.
This has forced FAM to release a statement in which the Association has blamed the pandemic for making it very difficult to receive the new kit on the market by end of December last year.
“The Football Association of Malawi would like to inform the general public that following the unveiling of the Flames new kit at the State House in Lilongwe on 29th October 2021, production of kits and replicas was commissioned in China and Vietnam. Although we experienced production delays in both sites, shipment was embarked upon early December with the view to having the new kit on the market by end December. However, we are facing considerable delays with delivery of the consignments due to a backlog of shipments overseas arising from COVID-19 complications.”
“This is being experienced after special efforts were made to fast-track shipment of the consignments through courier services,” reads part of the statement.
However, the country’s soccer governing body says it will continue monitoring the situation and is hoping to have the consignment before facing Guinea on Monday next week.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and constantly engaging with service providers to expedite the shipments so that the consignments arrive by the time we play our first match of the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations 2022. We sincerely apologise for not providing the new kit and its replicas in good time and regret any inconvenience that may cause to the football loving Malawians,” concluded the statement.
There has been a public outcry from Flames supporters who have been looking for the replicas ahead of Malawi’s third time appearance at Afcon finals.
Malawi will open their Group B campaign with a clash against Guinea before playing Zimbabwe four days later.
They will then play their final Group match against Senegal.
The team arrived in Bafoussam City on Wednesday.
All the three matches will be played at the 20, 000 seater Kauekong Stadium.