Chipiku Stores has increased its 2012/2013 sponsorship to the Central Region Football League (CRFL) by 56.3 percentâ€”from K3.2 million (about $12 000) to K5 million (about $20 000).
Chipiku Stores operations manager Rajesh Salian announced the increment during presentation of prizes to last seasonâ€™s achievers on Saturday evening at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.
It was a two-minute speech with high impact that turned the magnificent hall into ecstasy spiced up with hugs and ululation from the crowd.
“We will continue supporting football because we are impressed with the way the committee is running the league. We are also impressed with the referees and standard of football teams are displaying. This year, we will sponsor the league with K5 million [$20 000],” said Salian.
The news came as an immediate response to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) second vice-president Pikawo Ngalamilaâ€™s appeal for an increase in sponsorship due to the recent devaluation of kwacha.
Ngalamila thanked the sponsors for their commitment to the league for over six years.
“It may be that you do not know the impact the sponsorship you give has on the community. If you can be visiting the rural areas during the games, you will see that it has a big impact as the league attracts many followers.
“Whenever you see that there is something you are not happy with in terms of administration, please consult us for dialogue. We do not want the masses to suffer because of a few individuals,” said Ngalamila.
He also appealed to the community to buy from Chipiku Stores in return for the good gesture of sponsorship.
CRFL vice-chairperson Charles Kapichi and general secretary Bernard Chiwiriwiri Harawa, who described the league as the biggest in the country after registering 66 teams, promised to use the sponsorship money prudently.
During prize presentation, Kamuzu Barracks received K650 000 (about $2 600) and a trophy for being Premier Division champions. Adams FC and Airborne Rangers got K380 000 (about $1 520) and K150 000 (about $600) on second and third positions, respectively. However, Adamsâ€™ prize was withheld due to an ongoing club ownership wrangle.
Division One champions Dowa Medicals received K220 000 (about $880) and a trophy while Dedza Strikers got K130 000 (about $520) for being Division Two champions.
In individual awards, Mude Jeffrey of Adams, with 42 goals, received K20 000 (about $80) and a miniature as top goalscorer in Premier Division.
Leonard Mateyo of Nambuma United (50 goals) and Libelito Dzagwemo of Linthumbwi United (52 goals) received K15 000 (about $60) each for being Division One and Division Two top goalscorers, respectively.
Potipher Ganizani was â€˜Player of the Tournamentâ€™ in Premiership. He received K20 000 (about $80) whereas Noel Tshungu of Dzaleka Leopards and Chisomo Giliyoni of Dzedza Strikers received K15 000 (about $60) each for the same award in Division One and Two, respectively.
In media category, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) correspondent Frankie Kalilombe and Precious Msosa of Blantyre News Limited (BNL) won in print whereas Frank Kandu (MBC), Willimas Gondwa (MIJ) and Mike Bango (Zodiak) scooped the award in electronic category.
Red Cross, through Joseph Moyo, donated six balls to Division Two teams and boots to Golden Boot Award winners in divisions one and two.