Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to football by increasing Fisd Challenge Cup winners’ prize money to K20 million from K16 million—the highest on the land.
The runners-up prize money has also been hiked to K7 million from K6 million.
The development also put to an end rumours that the irrigation services providers were contemplating to withdraw Fisd Challenge Cup sponsorship.
Fisd chief external operations officer Jack Kujaliwa, speaking during the launch of the 2019 Fisd Challenge Cup at Chiwembe’s Mpira Village in Blantyre, said at no point did the company consider withdrawing football support.
“There were rumours that we are pulling out sponsorship of the cup. Those rumours were unfounded. We have a five-year contract with FAM and we are going to see it through. We are in the fourth year of our contract and we will be back next year.
“At the expiry of the five-year contract, we will sit down with FAM and evaluate the five years and then move on from there. Get our assurance, Fisd is here and next year we will also be here,” he said.
The cup was scheduled to be launched on August 20 but did not, a development Kujaliwa attributed to logistics.
“The competition has not delayed. Last year, we kicked off in September. This year we have also launched in September. So, where is the delay?
“We were working on logistics. We wanted to bring you a nice and quality tournament. Our focus is to strive on quality. Not coming up with a tournament that will not even add any value. We wanted to do something that will at least be exceptional,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda said they knew that Fisd would never dump football.
“That’s why when the rumours were going around, we were not bothered,” he said.
“As FAM, we are really grateful that in this fourth edition, the company has decided to revise the takes. With Fisd, our relationship has been growing from strength to strength. We are looking at this partnership growing and we will ensure that Fisd gets value for their sponsorship.”
Fisd communication and marketing manager Wezzie Chiumia said they expect the competition to be exciting following the increase in prize money.
“Our expectations is that the tournament will be competitive and exciting. As you know, we have we increased the prize money to K20 million, which is a great deal of money. This is the biggest prize money on the local scene. So, even the level of competition should be greater than any other competition,” he said.
The draw for the competition will see regional teams and TNM Super League teams that finished between position nine and 16 at the end of first round battling it out in the preliminary round.
The eight winners from this round will join top eight TNM Super League teams in round of 16. The games will kick off this weekend.