Football Association of Malawi (FAM) yesterday launched self-sponsored K60 million FAM District Football Leagues aimed at bridging the gap in association football between district and regional levels.
Speaking during the launch under the banner ‘Raising the Game’, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said all the country’s 28 districts will each receive funding of between K1 million and K2 million for the leagues.
“Today’s event will go into the books of our football as the day we changed the game for the better. I am delighted to stand here today to announce that we have committed to fulfil yet another main promise in Raising the Bar of Malawi Football. We have committed K60 million of our own resources for the project.
“This money will come from FAM’s gate revenue. This is the investment we are making by ploughing back the resources towards football development,” he said.
Nyamilandu said the leagues will bridge the competition and organisation gap in association football between the district and the regional levels.
He said: “Through the leagues, we aim to develop strong football clubs in the districts to be able to challenge regional and Super League teams; garner local community support that will fuel growth of local football teams and in the process, unearth raw talent across Malawi.
The FAM boss said the leagues will also help to build the capacity of district football committees.
Said Nyamilandu: “The leagues will also help build capacity for local administrators and officials by giving them an opportunity to get involved in the organisation and administration, refereeing and coaching of competitive association football with a league focus. Once we achieve that, we believe our game will rise.”
FAM competitions and marketing committee chairperson Justice JabbarAlide said the launch of leagues marks a shift from concentrating on elite football to districts.
He said: “We have done well to ensure we have enough competitions at elite level where we have at least four cup tournaments plus the Super League. We have more competitions at youth level. We have regional women’s leagues and proper beach soccer league in all five lakeshore districts. The only missing link was to have permanent football leagues in the districts.
“Currently, most districts do not have consistent sponsored association football competitions. The only guaranteed competition is the Presidential Cup which is played on knockout basis for a period of just three months between March and June.”
Alide said with Presidential Cup participation having decreased from 1 444 teams in 2013 to just 492 in 2019, district teams have been complaining of lack of football competitions.
FAM’s districts associations in all the districts nationwide will be in charge of running the league under the supervision of the regional associations.
The leagues, which will be played on a two-legged round robin format, and shall run alongside the country’s main football calendar, will kick off once government lifts the ban on public gathering of more than 100 people imposed due to the coronavirus.