Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has set April 1 as the tentative kick-off date for the 2018 season.
FAM acting competitions manager Casper Jangale said as per tradition, the association’s Chifundo Charity Shield will curtain-raise the season on Easter Sunday or Monday.
“We are still in the planning stages and liaising with affiliates and other stakeholders such as sponsors, but the Super League kick-off has been earmarked for April 7,” he said.
Jangale said they are working on accommodating international and local competitions as well as Fifa calendar dates for national team friendly matches.
“Among others, we have 2019 Afcon [African Cup of Nations] qualifiers, Cosafa Cup, Under-20 CAF Africa Youth Championship preliminaries and domestic cup competitions.
“We also have two of our teams [Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security] competing in CAF club tournaments and if they go past the preliminaries, we will have to include them on the calendar,” he said.
However, FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said once finalised, the calendar will be ultimately subjected to approval by the FAM executive committee.
He also hinted on the possibility of expanding the Charity Shield from two to four teams..
“We could have the usual two or four teams and these are TNM Super League champions Be Forward Wanderers, Carlsberg Cup winners Nyasa Big Bullets, Fisd Cup champions Kamuzu Barracks and Airtel Top 8 winners Silver Strikers.
“Taking the original format, the criteria of participating teams in the shield are national league champions and winners of a national cup. In terms of scale and reach then the Super League and Carlsberg Cup winners are the priority.
“However, we have received feedback that we adopt what our colleagues in the region are doing, turning it into a four team tournament which could be played over two days like is the case in Zambia,” he said.
Matola said from a marketing perspective, they are researching on the four-team format so that they yield the best results.
“So far, the facts we are collecting gives stronger pointers that this format would create more excitement and hence huge patronage and, consequently, optimum revenues for the charitable cause,” he said. n