Government’s claim that it recently convinced TNM plc and Airtel Malawi not to pull out sponsorship for the TNM Super League and Airtel Top 8 tournaments was a tinge of fiction as the two companies have expressed ignorance on the issue.
Ministry of Youth and Sports claims in a statement titled Brief on the Achievements of the Current Government Administration for the Past 100 Days that it had to negotiate with the two mobile network service providers not to pull out.
“TNM and Airtel companies, who were alleged to be planning to withdraw sponsorships, have reviewed their decisions and promised to continue their sponsorships. Possibility of increased sponsorship exists,” reads part of the statement.
However, an official from Airtel expressed ignorance about such an intention in an interview with Weekend Nation.
“All I know is that we made a commitment to FAM to continue sponsoring the tournament when football resumes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
On his part, TNM brand and communication manager Limbani Nsapato also said he was not aware of the issue.
He said: “Not to my knowledge, but I will have to check with my boss if at all that issue was discussed at the high level at some point.”
Asked for clarification on the matter on Thursday, director of sports in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Jameson Ndalama admitted that “it was a mistake”.
He said: “From what I have gathered, the presentation in the statement was wrong as it might have sent a wrong message.
“The rumours about the two companies’ intention to pull out sponsorship emanated from the social media and during a meeting with the Minister [of Youth and Sports, Ulemu Msungama], Mr. [Charles] Kamoto [managing director of Airtel Malawi] clarified that they were not pulling out .”
In the statement, the ministry also cites engagement of private sector companies to participate in sports development among the Tonse Alliance administration’s achievements.
Reads part of the statement: “The ministry has engaged private sector to brief them on the vision of the government and explore how they could effectively partner with government to support sport development programmes.”
It says the initiative has led to, among other things, Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) Limited drilling two boreholes at Bingu National Stadium at no cost, to address water supply challenges.
The Ministry further says it has inspected and analysed sport programmes and projects to assess their status and feasibility to plan the way forward.
“The outcomes of this exercise are: Quick win projects were identified, prioritised and allocated resources. These projects include construction of indoor sports complex and Kamuzu Institute of Sport Village,” the statement further reads.
The Ministry also says it has initiated preparations for hosting of the 2022 African Union Sports Council (Ausc) Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games.