At least six TNM Super League players plus three trialists have found a niche in the K1 million (about $4 000) Justice Katika Football Trophy in Bangwe Township, Blantyre to help make the competition an excitement among soccer fans from the area and beyond.
Mighty Wanderersâ€™ Maxwell Chirwa; Big Bulletsâ€™ Vincent Gona and Bernard Kalirani; Azam Tigersâ€™ Timothy Chitedze, and Escom Unitedâ€™s Mischeck Gawani and Elton Lauren alongside trialists Ben Mbewe and James Manda (Azam Tigers) and Mphatso Masha (Blantyre United) are all playing in the 36-team competition.
According to some fans, who regularly watched the stars in action during the matches at the stone-strewn Desert Ground in the township, it feels like watching the elite league encounters when they see Super League stars rubbing shoulders with the local youths.
They said, on Sunday, that if Super League teams encourage their players to do the same in neighborhoods countrywide, football standards would rapidly improve as many youths would be able to pluck something from the stars on the pitch.
“The participation of Super League stars has really transformed the standard of play among our youths in this neighborhood. Although the players are somehow prone to career-threatening injuries in these township events due to poor quality pitches, this would be a nice idea,” said Bangwe resident Leonard Matache
After scoring the winner in Clinic Veteransâ€™ 4-1 victory over Wisiki Barracks, Chirwa, welcomed the development, but said there is need to first polish the soccer fields to good standards.