Mobile phone network operator Airtel Malawi plc has pumped K25 million into Flames Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) ‘Kuipatsa Moto’ fundraising drive with the biggest single donation this far at K25 million.
Making the announcement on Wednesday in Lilongwe, Airtel Malawi plc managing director Charles Kamoto said the donation will be split into three parts.
He said: “This K25 million package is in three parts; with K2.5 million channelled towards the ‘Kuipatsa Moto’ Flames VIP Fundraising Golf, another K2.5 million towards the upcoming ‘Kuipatsa Moto’ VIP fundraising dinner and the remaining K20 million for general support towards the Flames.
“With football being next to religion in Malawi, we can attest to the ultimate connection and unity that this sport continues to achieve in Malawi and so we hope that our contribution to the Flames to take part in the upcoming Afcon games from January 2022 will not only ease some cost-related burdens but also help to elevate the sport.”
Kamoto said the integrated smartphone and mobile service network operator, who also sponsor Airtel Top 8, decided to support the Flames because football connects people.
He said: “Being in the connection orientated business, the power of connecting others continues to drive our activities. For us at Airtel, football is one avenue that we continue to be passionate about, as it has proven time and again, to be the official love language and ultimate connector for Malawians.
“And so, ladies and gentlemen, coming off the heels of yet another successful Top 8 season 4 kick-off over the past weekend at Kamuzu stadium, I am excited to announce our support for the Flames Afcon ‘Kuipatsa Moto’ fundraising drive to the tune of K25 million.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) first vice-president Jabbar Alide thanked Airtel for the donation, saying it has come at the right time.
He said “It is a timely donation as you are aware that for the past few months we have been going around knocking doors to corporate world as well as individuals asking for help.
“Today is one of the best days in this campaign. It’s the biggest single donation that we have received. We are very happy and grateful to Airtel for the gesture.”
Alide, who is also Flames Afcon Resource Mobilisation Task Force chairperson and a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said the donation means they have hit K100 million with other pledges yet to be fulfilled.
The Flames total budget for their Afcon assignments is K1.4 billion. However, they need to raise at least half of the sum because government already committed to contribute K700 million.
The recent fundraising golf, which Vice-President Saulos Chilima participated in as guest of honour, targeted to raise K30 million, but fetched K73.4 million.
The 33rd Afcon showpiece is slated to run from January 9 to February 6 2022 in Cameroon.
Malawi are in Group B alongside Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal’s Teranga Lions, Guinea’s Sylli Nationale and Zimbabwe’s Warriors.
The Flames will start the campaign against Guinea on January 10 at Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam, Cameroon.
Malawi’s second fixture is against fellow Cosafa bloc member Zimbabwe’s Warriors on January 14.