Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu says the newly-launched district leagues will help expose and improve hidden talent.
The association launched its districts leagues for the Northern Region at Chiwaza ground in Chintcheche, Nkhata Bay on Saturday.
He said: “The leagues will help in the search for raw talent in uncharted territories that are rugged and bare, but endowed with natural talent.
“We are geared to close all the white spaces with the district football leagues that have been launched as we continue to raise the bar.
“This is where you admire most the beautiful game of football because you experience the genuine passion for football as the players manoeuvre the bare ground on bare feet and the fans brace the dusty wind or scorching sun.
“These are the roots that have moulded me and I will be happy to expose talented players from the rural and urban areas in order to give them a brighter future in life.”
The FAM president also said the district leagues will bridge the gap between elite football and lower levels and ensure systematic football structures at all levels across the country.
He said: “The leagues will also offer a platform for every young player in the rural areas to blossom and achieve their dreams of playing football at top level.
“We know that the large population, particularly the youth, come from the rural areas and the competitions we had were not able to reach out to every corner of the country.”
Nyamilandu pleaded with government through the Ministry of Local Government authorities to ensure that all districts have stadiums to offer proper venues for the leagues.
“For football to develop we should have the right resources and the stadia is a critical resource for the talent we have to flourish.
“We have a lot of spaces across the country which must be utilised. We will be talking to local government that while this competition is taking place, they should construct low-cost stadiums for these leagues,” he said.
FAM competitions committee chairperson Jabbar Alide, who is also the association’s vice-president, said the leagues will help to put in place a proper competition structure for relegation and promotion in regional leagues.
“Going forward, we will use the district leagues to feed regional leagues on top of developing talent for national teams,” he said.
On his part, Northern Region Football Association chairperson Lameck Khonje commended FAM for launching the long-awaited district leagues.
“We are very excited and football development is back in communities,” he said.
In March last year, FAM unveiled a K60 million package for the district leagues and each league will get K2 million.
The leagues, which were supposed to kick off in May last year, delayed due to Covid-19. They are scheduled to kick off on July 31.