The Ecobank Chifundo Charity Shield has lived up to its billing, grossing K34.7 million and raising K13 million for persons with albinism (PWAs) from the two-day marathon of top-flight football that saw Nyasa Big Bullets beating Be Forward Wanderers 1-0 in the finals.
This is the first time that the event has realised such a high revenue. In the previous three editions, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) had to top up using its own funds to fulfil pledges to targeted beneficiaries.
With sponsors Ecobank having pumped in K12 million, the package helped FAM offset the costs of hosting the four matches at the Kamuzu Stadium, according to FAM president Walter Nyamilandu.
“The impact of Ecobank’s sponsorship has been overwhelming in many fronts. It lessened the financial burden that was on FAM when we single-handedly sponsored the event from our meagre resources.
“For the first time, we procured befitting shield and uniforms for the four participating teams which was not the case before when teams played using old uniforms,” he said.
“The sponsorship also ensured smooth preparations of the tournament by ensuring that all the participating teams were well looked after by meeting their overhead costs in terms of travel, meals and allowances,” he said.
Four participants, champions Bullets, runners-up Wanderers, third-placed Masters Security and fourth-positioned Blue Eagles, each got K4 million participating fee up front totalling K16 million. Ecobank also dressed the four semi-finalists to the tune of K4 million.
Kamuzu Stadium owners, Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, charged about K3 million upfront for the two-day event.
Nyamilandu said the coming in of Ecobank had enabled football to play the role of advocacy on campaign against killing and abductions of people with albinism.
“Ecobank’s sponsorship has been a great enabler allowing football to play an advocacy role against the barbaric killings, abductions and discrimination of persons with albinism in Malawi.
“Football has delivered the message to everyone in Malawi and across the boarders that it’s possible to live harmoniously and love one another as one people after all we are the warm heart of Africa,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda expressed satisfaction with the outcome of this year’s shield.
“We comfortably tag it as the best ever. We managed to achieve the main objective of mobilising and engaging the fans and the public to take decisive action the brutal killings, abductions, discrimination and persecutions of persons with albinism.
“In addition to that, with support from Ecobank, we mobilised resources which will go a long way to mitigate some of the challenges which people with albinism face,” he said. n