FMB has increased the sponsorship package for the national under-20 football league from K24 million to K30 million.
FMB head of marketing Sylvia Nankwenya announced the K6 million increase during the national finals held at Mulanje Park on Saturday won by Blantyre-based Griffin Young Stars who beat Sanwecka FC of Mzuzu 3-0.
“It has pleased FMB management to increase sponsorship from K24 million to K30 million. As a bank, we are happy with how the competition is organised and how it is positively impacting football growth as evidenced by the number of players that have been making it into the senior national team since the inaugural event in 2009,” said Mataka, who was accompanied by the bank’s chief executive officer Fernando Rodriguez.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) vice-president James Mwenda and National Youth Football Association (NYFA) chairperson Chimango Munthali expressed gratitude to the bank for the enhanced financial support, saying, it will go a long way in producing more stars.
And the thrilling action on the pitch seemed to have encapsulated the excitement that engulfed the stadium after the announcement of the increased sponsorship at half-time.
Young Stars were the happiest as they became the first team from the Southern Region to win the national title since the competition started eight years ago. They have also become the only side to take the glory without a single loss from the district stage. They played 40 games; winning 34 and drawing six.
Paul Phiri opened the scoresheet for Young Stars in the 24th minute after he tipped over advancing Sanwecka goalkeeper Shingilani Thole. Yaphet Mangani made it 2-0 deep in the second half after heading home a corner-kick by Peter Banda, who provided the final flourish five minute to time after rounding off the ‘keeper for an easy finish.
To qualify for the finals,, Youngsters beat last year’s winners Silver Strikers Youth 3-2 in the semi-finals while Sanwecka booted out hosts Mathambi FC 4-3 on post-match penalties after a one-all draw.
“This was the third time to be in the national finals and it feels great to finally grab the crown. I dedicate this trophy to my late mother,” marvelled Young Stars’ coach Griffin Saenda Jnr, whose side received K1 million first-prize.
The inaugural FMB Under-20 League had 44 participants from the country’s four cities but it has grown to 144 teams in 12 districts of Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi and Mulanje in the South; Dedza, Lilongwe, Mchinji and Kasungu in the Centre alongside Nkhata-Bay, Karonga, Mzuzu and Rumphi in the North.
Some notable figures that graced the national finals were guest of honour Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) board chairperson James Chuma and Flames coach Ron Van Geneugden. n