Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has offered Surestream Stadium to National Youth Football Association (NYFA) and First Merchant Bank (FMB).
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu made the offer on Thursday during the FMB Under-20 League pre-launch at the bank’s offices in Blantyre.
Nyamilandu said: “I think the youth league has now come of age. NYFA is one of the new affiliates and after five years I think they are now established. I am saying they must think more than just Under-20. The youth league is in strictly speaking terms about Under-17, Under-15 and Under-12. That’s where we need to go.
“We are giving them a place where they must be based. We know match venue is their biggest challenge to fulfil fixtures. They now have a stadium where they can play their fixtures in the morning or in the afternoon. The youth need to play organised football. They need to play in an environment where we are able to monitor them and groom them at a very tender age.”
The FAM boss said after moving to Surestream Stadium, the sponsors FMB must follow NYFA.
“We are making this offer for free. FMB have shown that they are indeed a friendly bank. They have been a true friend of Malawi football since 2009. For them to make a commitment that they will continue bankrolling the youth league is just good news for us. It gives us confidence that we can continue planning for the future by investing into the game, now that we have steady sponsorship.”
FMB group general manager corporate and commercial banking Phillip Madinga said they would consider the offer from FAM.
He said the bank’s ambition was to organise a tournament that would attract teams from other countries they are operating in, namely Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana.
“But I know FAM has given us one other proposal [to take over Surestream Academy] so we have to balance the priorities and see what is viable,” he said.
Madinga said the bank was satisfied with the impact of the Under-20 League.
He said: “When we started sponsoring football in 2009 we were very clear on what we wanted to do. We had two objectives—to support government in terms of developing this sport in Malawi.
“But the most important objective was to make sure that the youth are not distracted by other bad habits like drug and alcohol abuse and it’s been successful so far.
“Our wish is to continue from the success. We have built a strong foundation. We have seen over 36 players graduating to play for the Super League. Half of the national team as of today come from the FMB League.” n