Listed commercial bank, FMB, has made a historic sponsorship increase for the FMB Under-20 Football League, doubling the package to K20 million.
The bank’s marketing manager Slyvia Mataka unveiled the good news during this year’s national finals at Dedza Stadium on Saturday when Northern Region outfit Fish Eagles FC beat Southern Region representatives Griffin Young Stars 4-1 on post-match penalties after a one-all draw in regulation time.
This is the fourth time the bank has increased sponsorship for the youth competition since they started bankrolling the event in 2009.
The inaugural package of the annual event was K3 million.
According to Mataka, they decided to raise the sponsorship bar in appreciation of the tremendous progress the competition has made in terms of performance of players and the seriousness of the National Youth Football Committee (NYFC) in curbing age-cheating over the years.
“We are satisfied with the progress so far. We have noted that players in this competition are being serious with the game. We have seen most of them earning national team call-ups and being sought after by Super League teams.
“Therefore, we have decided to increase the sponsorship to motivate the players with better prizes and appreciate the league’s administrators for working hard to curb age-cheating,” she said, adding, the K20 million backing also aims at celebrating the bank’s 20th anniversary in 2015.
Sports Ministry’s principal secretary Justin Said and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu described the development as the best thing to have happened in youth football development.
“I do not know how to describe my excitement. However, with this sweet news, we now rate the bank as one of our biggest football sponsors in the country,” said Nyamilandu.
NYFC chairperson Mabvuto Missi said they come up with strategic plan on how to prudently use the sponsorship money so that they can jealously safeguard and probably strengthen further their good relationship with the bank.
Fish Eagles received K300 000 and a trophy while Griffin Young Stars got K250 000 as runners-up.
In the finals, Eagles were the first to score through Thesani Mwafulirwa’s 35th minute effort before Young Star’s Emmanuel Lino levelled the score in the 65th minute.
Eagles’ goalkeeper Hastings Banda, who saved three post-match penalties, emerged as the best player of the tournament while his brother Heskey was named man of the match.