If the prize money is anything to go by, then teams benefit more by participating in cup games other than the top-flight Super League.
Super League and the Presidential Cup enjoy an equal sponsorship of K60 million (about $400 000) while the Standard Bank Cup is pegged at K15 million (about $90 000)
Most clubs interviewed by Nation on Sunday feel participating in cup competitions is more rewarding than the flagship league.
Mighty Wanderers FC played six games between May 25 and June 25 2011 to win the Presidential Cup and got K10 million (about $60 000)â€”the highest prize money in the land. On the other hand, Silver Strikers pocketed K8 million (about $50 000) for winning the national league after playing 28 games in seven months.
Blue Eagles played just four games between November 5 to December 11 last year to win the Standard Bank Cup and got K5 million (about $30 000).
The newly introduced Fellowship Association of Malawi (Fama) top eight bonanza, whose last semi-finals game is on this afternoon, will see the champions getting K3 million (about $18 000) for playing just three games in four weeks.
In simple cost-effective analysis, cups in Malawi are more rewarding than the league, but does this make cups more treasured than the league?
“Yes, it does because the expenses are less but returns huge. You may end up spending just K1 million [$6 000] in the whole Presidential Cup then win the K10 million [$60 000], that is a jackpot. And like us, we donâ€™t have sponsors, we look at cup games as source of fast income,” said Bullets chairperson Malinda Chinyama.
Chinyamaâ€™s views were shared by Mighty Wanderers general secretary George Chamangwana.
“But that is not to say we do not appreciate the Super League sponsorship. We also have to take into consideration that the league is played over a long period of time,” Chamangwana noted.
Escom United chairperson Fanuel Nkhono, however, said despite the low prize money, the league remains the ultimate prize though he stressed the need to increase the prize money.
“The success of a team is measured by their performance in the league and not in cup competitions. Cup competitions depend on lucky draws and sometimes home ground advantage.
“As chairman, my priority would be the league, but its prize money needs to be reviewed. It should be by far higher than any other competition. The lower prize money forces teams to divert attention to cups,” he said.
Silver co-coach Hellings Mwakasungula also said the Super League, despite low returns, is the top most competition.
“As a coach, my priority is winning the league because it remains the flagship competition through which success of a team is judged,” he said.
Silver Strikers defender Ndaziona Chilemba said players are more motivated to win cups than the league.
“We share the money looking at the number of games one has played. So if you win the Presidential Cup, then you are likely to get more money because the prize money is huge and you play less games compared to the league. Itâ€™s as simple as that.
Experienced Wanderers midfielder Joseph Kamwendo said money should not replace the real value of the league.
“Winning the league is more appealing to a player than winning cups. The league is not won overnight but after a marathon and playing against all 14 teams twice over.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said the Super League is superior and cannot be compared with cups.
“Cups cannot not be compared to a league. Consider that revenue generated from league games cannot be compared to cup games,” said Banda.