Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu has said the body’s improved annual funding in the National Budget over the past few years made it easy for Malawi to host the Cosafa Under-17 Youth Championship in Blantyre.
He was speaking during a cocktail the competition’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) had at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre on Thursday evening, to welcome Cosafa delegates.
Football got K300 million annual subvention for the past three years. Almost five years ago, the local soccer governing body was getting K60 million.
“Previously, funding for the national teams was not sufficient for us to have thoughts of ever hosting this tournament for the first time in 18 years,” Nyamilandu said.
“I would like to thank the government through all relevant ministries and departments for their guarantee, financial, personnel and material support that enabled us to host this tournament and all other stakeholders that have made the dream a reality.”
He added that now they have confidence of daring to host the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup in two years.
Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) general secretary Sue Destombes said they were happy to see the competition returning to Malawi after the 2001 event.
“It is not easy to find tournament hosts in our region and it feels great to have Malawi opening up for the first time in years. We look forward to a fantastic tournament that will unearth youthful talent in the southern African region,” she said.
The 11th edition of the tournament kicked off on Friday at Mpira Stadium, which is the main venue in Blantyre.
However, the official opening ceremony took place at the same venue yesterday.
Kamuzu Stadium is the other official venue of the competition.