China-based Malawi women’s football star Tabitha Chawinga has raised the bar and is now sponsoring three DD Sunshine teams in Lilongwe.
The Malawi national women’s football team captain was quoted by cafonline.com as having said that apart from the senior women’s team, which plays in the Central Region Women Football League, she has also revived the girls’ developmental side and formed a predominantly Under-20 men’s side.
“I also sponsor DD Sunshine boys’ team. Together with the coach [Andrew Chikhosi], we have also revived the girls’ developmental team. So, in total, I sponsor three teams,” she said.
The Jiangsu Suning prolific forward, however, says it is not easy to sponsor all the three teams.
“It is not enough. It is hard considering that I also have to provide for my family back home, but I am determined to do this because DD Sunshine means everything to me,” said Tabitha.
In an interview yesterday, the 23-year-old Scorchers captain said she is now courting potential sponsors.
She said: “I know it’s not easy to find sponsors, especially for women’s football, but I am currently courting potential sponsors to see if they can get on board.
“I am sponsoring the teams not because I am rich, but it is out of the passion for the game. I would like to see women’s football develop in Malawi.
“There is a lot of promising young talent there at home that has the potential to make it big given the necessary support. It can open up opportunities for a lot of young girls. So, it’s also about the girl child.”
Tabitha said she is also courting Chinese sponsors.
Among other things, she has been paying house rentals, ground fees, school fees and uniforms, allowances and food for the players since 2014.
However, Tabitha could not be drawn to disclose how much she spends on the three clubs per season.
“It’s quite a lot, but let’s leave it like that for now.”
Tabitha has been helping run the affairs of her first club, DD Sunshine after the owner and proprietor David Dube suffered ill health that has incapacitated him.
Dube played a pivotal role in helping Tabitha secure her first move to Sweden in 2014, which opened doors for her and the sister Temwa. Coincidentally in that same year, Dube, a pioneer of women’s football in Malawi suffered a stroke.
The team was in danger of closing shop when Tabitha took over sponsorship.
Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu hailed Tabitha, saying: “This is very admirable and very rare. It is not easy to sacrifice personal resources for the sake of others.
“She has a good heart. Very few can do what she is doing to support football. No wonder she is successful in her career. Blessed is the hand that giveth.”
On her part, National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said Tabitha’s efforts should be supported.
She said: “The importance of her investment cannot be over emphasised. Tabitha has proven to be a role model who is not only ploughing back to the team that provided her the platform to scale greater heights, but she is also opening up opportunities for upcoming talent. She needs our support.
DD Sunshine are the current national women’s football champions.