It is almost a year and a half to the countryâ€™s next general elections in 2014. Political parties are busy electing their presidential candidates as well developing manifestos.
At constituency level, incumbent and aspiring members of Parliament have also started underground campaigns.
Just like the manifestos, campaigns and the conventions, there has been a sudden boom of football tournaments.
Used as a tool to woo young voters, football trophies are being launched in constituencies almost every weekend.
Most of the trophies were there prior to the 2009 elections , but vanished soon after the polls, raising questions about the politiciansâ€™ motives in sponsoring them.
While MPs claim the trophies are aimed at developing football at the grass roots level, their disappearance after elections and reappearance towards elections suggest they are just used for the benefit of the politicians.
â€œThe trophies are pure campaign gimmicks and have no football interests in them. The sponsors appoint their own committees to run the show as such opposing officials or teams are treated unfairly.
â€œMuch as they are sponsored by MPs and aspiring parliamentarians, there is a need for proper procedures to be put in place, so that they are not seen to be politicised.
â€œSome leagues are played over three years and prizes given sometimes differ from the ones promised at the launch. FAM needs to do something to normalise the situation,â€ said renowned TV sports producer Kelvin Moyo.
But the countryâ€™s soccer governing body FAM, who are mandated by Fifa to safeguard the interest of the game, said the association has no powers to regulate such competitions.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said the tournaments are organised at social level and it is not easy to regulate them.
â€œMost of these are used as part of campaigns, just like some social football games played between companies in towns. We do not have much influence.
â€œWe have football committees in each district and they ensure that all tournaments of such nature are brought to their attention and that they are involved,â€ said Nyirenda.
Thyolo District Football Committee (TDFC) chairperson Ntchavi Mbewe said most MPs are now realising the need for involving them.
â€œWe have six tournaments that have been launched this year here in Thyolo and all the MPs involved us in setting up structures like organisation and training of referees. The only problem is lack of documentation on their commitment to fulfil their pledges,â€ said Mbewe.
Despite such problems, FAM says the tournaments are helpful in developing football in the country.
â€œMost of these tournaments are played in rural areas where there are no competitions and the teams starve of competitive action. So, these tournaments give them something to compete for.
â€œIt is a pity that they disappear after elections,â€ said Nyirenda.
Some tournaments have also managed to produce top players who are now playing for Super League teams.
â€œThey invite our coaches to watch their games to spot talent. Luka Milanzi, now playing in DRC, was spotted while playing in a Vuwa-Kaunda trophy in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency, the same with other players such as Seba Mhone. Escom United last year picked four players from the Sam Ganda Trophy in Nsanje and are now playing in the Super League,â€ said Nyirenda.
He also said there is need for Parliament to provide resources for tournaments in every constituency as part of the developmental fund.
â€œThis will ensure that constituencies are guaranteed a league every year regardless of who is the MP and that will also help to stop politicising football,â€ he said.
Other MPsâ€™ competitions are competed for every year.
The John Bande Football Tournament in Blantyre City East is competed for every year since it was launched in 2003.
â€œI donâ€™t do it for a campaign. I just want to promote the development of the game in my area by offering talented players something to compete for,â€ said Bande.