Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has changed its earlier tune on excluding district teams from this year’s Presidential Football Cup, saying they will participate under their respective regions.
The news comes in the wake of concerns raised by some quarters, in particular district officials, over Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) decision to forego the district phase, arguing that it defeats the purpose of the tournament which is to identify and develop talent from the districts.
FAM recently announced that following the competition’s K22 million (US$54 054) shortfall, from the K60 million (US$147 420.14) package, the tournament would be played at regional and national levels. The shortfall came after the association diverted the funds towards Flames for the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria last year.
But FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday said district teams will take part under their respective regions.
“We have come up with an arrangement whereby district teams will still take part, but through their regions and not the normal process whereby the tournament starts at district level.
“As we stated, this was done because the remaining K38 million is not enough to cover all levels,” said Nyirenda.
Before FAM’s U-turn, some football officials from districts such as Thyolo League chairperson Chabvi Mbewe and former FAM CEO Charles Nyirenda argued that doing so would be defeating the aim of the tournament which is to identify and develop talent from the grass roots.
Nyirenda justified the move to divert the Presidential Cup funding, saying the Flames engagement was equally important because it was a decisive World Cup qualifier and that failure to travel to Nigeria would have had serious repercussions in terms of a hefty fine and ban from CAF.
FAM were allocated K60 million last year against a budget in the excess of K300 million.
Sports Council authorised the diversion of the funds following FAM’s request on the understanding that they would still run the [Presidential Cup] competition even with the shortfall.