Airtel Malawi on Wednesday came up with a timely K10 million (about $20 000) rescue package towards FAM’s K50 million (about $100 000) budget for the Flames’ remaining 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The development leaves the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) with a K5 million (about $10 000) shortfall as it envisages to raise K10 million from gate collections in Saturday’s encounter against Mali.
FAM is also assured of a K25 million (about $50 000) bank loan guarantee by Flames’ official sponsors Carlsberg Malawi Limited.
The new financial boost towards the Flames comes against the background that FAM’s anticipated joint SMS promotion with TNM fell by the wayside due to what the association described as contractual complications.
It was also disclosed during the Airtel cheque presentation at Protea Ryalls in Blantyre that the two parties are negotiating a long-term partnership that will see Airtel getting on board as a football sponsor in a meaningful way.
Airtel Malawi managing director Heiko Schlittke said they decided to help the Flames after noting with concern that its campaign was about to collapse due to lack of funds.
“Let me assure you that this is just the beginning of bigger and better things to come, courtesy of Airtel. We would like to grow with you and sing the national anthem together with the rest of the corporate players,” said Schlittke.
And in his parting shot, Schlittke said: “To the players, I have to say go out with pride, winning is great. We at Airtel say hallo to the Flames, Muli bwanji?”
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu expressed gratitude to Airtel, saying the donation came at a time when the association was facing a race against time to pay for the team’s air travel to Ethiopia.
“You have bailed us out from embarrassment, you have saved us from an imminent crisis,” said Nyamilandu.
Later on, Nyamilandu clarified that they had opened the doors to Airtel for possible partnership because in their previous consultations, their areas of interest were not compatible to FAM’s expectations.
Airtel also sponsors Queens and a national netball cup to the tune of K360 million.