The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has secured a five-year K200 million (about $272 000) sponsorship from Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) to bankroll an annual trophy comprising Super League.
Speaking during the deal’s pre-contract signing in ceremony in Blantyre on Monday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu remarked: “When one door closes, another one opens.”
He added: “I am very pleased and emotional because we didn’t expect to secure another sponsorship as early as this.”
The format of the tournament, whose budget will be K40 million (about $54 436) a year, has not been set, but Nyamilandu hinted that it will be competed for by all the 15 Super League teams.
This will make the tournament different from the Standard Bank Knockout which only involved top eight teams from the elite league and was sponsored to the tune of K43 million (about $58 518).
“The competition will involve all the teams in the Super League,” he said. “But the other modalities like prize money will be communicated once we have finalised everything.”
Fisd was sponsoring Wizards last season before it was relegated from the Super League.
The two sides parted ways after the club refused to relocate to Lilongwe from Blantyre as per the sponsor’s demand.
Unveiling the tournament sponsorship, Fisd managing director Frank Mwenechanya said they decided to sustain their association with football because the sport has the potential to produce world class players.
“Malawi has potential to produce top players, but this cannot be done if there are no sponsors. This is why, after parting ways with Wizards, we decided to remain in the game,” he said.
He said the sponsorship would be revised every year depending on changes on the economic front.
“Revision will be made on the sponsorship annually and adjustments will be made if necessary,” Mwenechanya further explained.
Meanwhile, Silver Strikers general secretary Chimwemwe Mkhwimba said the Fisd sponsored competition will motivate players who were demoralised by the Standard Bank sponsorship withdrawal.
“I was very shocked with the Standard Bank pull out and many players were also demotivated upon hearing the news. Now I think the players’ morale has been boosted with the coming in of Fisd,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mkhwimba said the decision to open the tournament to all Super League teams, as opposed to eight clubs only, will give the teams equal opportunities.
“It’s a bit heartbreaking to be barred from a competition which you have an opportunity to win. It is good that every team will be given an opportunity to fight for it,” he further said. n