Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu says football is undervalued in the country despite it being one of world’s biggest business industries.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day sponsorship and marketing workshop for 16 TNM Super League clubs at Mpira Village in Blantyre, the FAM bos said the development has led to Malawi football benefiting very little from the vast sources of revenue it generates.
“The game of football is undervalued in Malawi. People want to walk all over us for nothing,” said Nyamilandu.
The estimates on how big the football industry is vary, but it’s commonly considered to be more than $500 billion.
But Nyamilandu observed that lack of expertise on how to market the sport or manage already existing sponsorships has led to Malawian clubs losing out.
“Most of the times we talk about the technical aspect of the game. In my view, we spend a lot of time doing technical things. We haven’t spent much time on marketing the game.
“Also we lack knowledge [on marketing]. We work in isolation. As a result we don’t know what we own. We don’t know how to optimise the revenue we can get. In the process, football is losing out while other people are making money out of it,” he said.
This, Nyamilandu observed, has contributed to the dwindling of football standards in the country as clubs are financially struggling to survive.
The FAM president said the symposium had come at the right time as clubs and Super League are exploring ways to maximise revenue collection.
“This is an opportunity for clubs to make football big business so that they can be self-sustainable. The more we wear a marketing hat, the more it will make us go and hunt the money and safeguard what we already have,” he said.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president TiyaSomba-Banda said the symposium is the first step in the road map to professionalising the TNM Super League by 2023.
“We have never sat down seriously to look at how to bring money into the game; how to market the game and how our sponsors and other stakeholders can leverage the product that we have.
“We are going to discuss how the sponsors are going to come into the game; how we are going to work around to improve revenue from other sources such as television and radio rights which we have not fully tapped.
“It’s not something we can do in two days, but it’s a continuous thing. At the end of the day, we are going to draw a road map on how we are going to achieve this.”
EXP Africa Agency sponsorship director Stewart Masela is facilitating the workshop.
Somba-Banda said Masela brings with him vast knowledge of football business having worked with key stakeholders such as clubs, the corporate sector and the media.
Masela has been with Absa, where he oversaw sponsorship with the Absa Premiership, Bafana Bafana, the Springboks, Absa Currie Cup and Springbok Sevens.
He also has a wealth of experience from SuperSport, where he worked as general manager, corporate affairs.