In a twist of events, the 2020 Ecobank Charity Shield will be played on April 4 and 5, two weeks into the 2020 season.
But FAM has downplayed fears that the change will affect the hype and the purpose of the competition which marks the commencement of the football calendar.
For the past three years, the FAM Charity Shield, which was initially supposed to be played this weekend, has been following the standard practice of being staged at the beginning of the season.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, speaking yesterday during the unveiling of this year’s event, said the delay was due to discussions between the association, sponsors Ecobank and the beneficiaries—Ministry of Disaster and Relief Management and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
He said: “We wanted to do things right and there were many factors that were being looked into. We would have loved to have the event at the point of kick-off of the season, but we have failed to do so because there were several discussions taking place with all the other stakeholders.
“It took us quite a while to be clear on what we wanted to be done. But I am happy that this week we were able to put everything into a plan. For us the most important thing is that the Charity Shield will still take place. Though two weeks behind schedule but it will still achieve the purpose and the dream that was set for the Charity Shield and still contribute to the people through football.”
FAM had to reschedule the Charity Shield to next month to pave way after Super League which kicks-off on March 21.
The shield could not be played the last weekend of March (27/28) since the Flames will be playing Burkina Faso (on March 26) in Ouagadougou and (March 31) at Kamuzu Stadium.
Meanwhile, this year’s Charity Shield will be donated to victims of Cyclone Idai in Chikwawa District.
“We have identified an area in Mwalaji Village in Chikwawa where the children are not able to access schools because they were displaced. For them to access education, they have to travel quite a long distance,” he said.
Nyamilandu thanked Ecobank for returning to sponsor the event.
“Last year we had a very successful event when we partnered with Ecobank. It was successful because all along we never had a sponsor. We were able to identify a sponsor and partner Ecobank who pumped in K12 million which enabled the participating teams to come on board.
“This year they have increased the sponsorship to K18 million. I have no doubt that the increment will make the event even bigger and better than last year,” he said.
Ecobank head of consumer and commercial banking Victoria Chanza said they were proud to be associated with the Charity Shield again after a successful 2019 event.
“This is a great day in Ecobank. As we did last year, we are back to sponsor the 2020 Ecobank Charity Shield. We saw that the proceeds we managed to accumulate last year went to a very big cause of helping people with albinism and we thought of coming back. We are so grateful to the teams that are going to participate in this year’s event,” he said.
A draw done during the unveiling saw Nyasa Big Bullets drawn against rivals Be Forward Wanderers while Silver Strikers will face Blue Eagles with the winners battling it out in the final.