FMB has increased Under-20 Football League sponsorship from K20 million to K24 million as the competition has grown into a 12-district event.
FMB group general manager (corporate and commercial banking) Philip Madinga said the K4 million increment and the inclusion of Mulanje, Kasungu and Rumphi follow the bank’s wish to continue developing the game from the grassroots.
Madinga announced this during the league’s pre-launch cocktail at the bank’s head office in Blantyre.
“We want this league to be a competition others can emulate. It is a platform for youth football development, which we want to enhance so as to further improve soccer standards in the country,” he said.
The three new districts have joined Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Dedza, Mchinji, Lilongwe, Nkhata Bay, Karonga and Mzuzu in the annual competition after emerging as the most-voted for during a selection process.
At least 14 000 FMB clients from eight nominated districts, where the bank operates, voted during the process.
Mulanje competed against Liwonde in the Southern Region whereas Kasungu was up against Salima, Mponela and Dwangwa in the Central Region. In the North, Rumphi tussled against Mzimba.
While expressing delight at the sponsorship hike, National Youth Football Association (NYFA) chairperson Chimango Munthali said the expansion of the competition to more districts will widen the catchment area for talent identification.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said the Flames could not have some of the current players had it not been for the contribution of the FMB Under-20 League.
Five FMB Under-20 League graduates are in the current senior national team that faces Madagascar in the Championship of African Nations (Chan) preliminary round return leg at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe tomorrow.
The FMB league, whose 2017 edition will be launched in Kasungu on May 6, started in 2009 with K4 million sponsorship and Silver Strikers Youth are the defending champions. n