FAM and National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) have unveiled plans to introduce a national league and negotiations with a prospective sponsor are underway.
The move comes at a time when there is no serious competition in the regional leagues where the same teams have dominated for years due to lack of strong opposition.
In the 10-team South league, Blantyre Zero and Ntopwa Super Queens remain the top-two outfits while DD Sunshine and Skippers FC enjoy the same status in the Centre. The Northern Region has Moyale Sisters and Topik Queens as dominant sides.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Nyamilandu and NWFA chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said once launched, they expect the national league to enhance competition in women’s football as they plan to ultimately turn the game professional.
Said Nyamilandu:“It is this level of seriousness that can make us stand the test of time and carve a better future for women’s football
“For the past few years, we have been focusing on the FAM Under-20 Women’s Cup as a developmental programme with the view of laying a good foundation for our girls. It is now time to scale up to a national league and do more youth football development programmes.”
The FAM president said they recently launched the Women’s Under-16 tournament as a pilot project under the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
He said the national league would be ideal with the format of the competition to ensure there is less financial burden on clubs.
Nyamilandu said it would be structured in a way that would consider the plight of women football clubs, most of whom do not have sound sponsorship.
“We will be sensitive on the plight of women football clubs because they are not sponsored by any corporate company. It is really tough when you consider that even some Super League clubs are struggling,” he said.
Ngwira said they thought of coming up with the national league after realising that competition among women football teams has stagnated, a development that dilutes the entertaining part of the game.
“We are tired of watching matches that end with cricket scores; with a national league, I do not think teams will be able to beat each other by score margins such as 36-0. In that way, women football will be more entertaining and attract good patronage,” she said.
Skippers’ owner Charles Mwenda and his Topik counterpart Levi Mhone said the national league will be ideal for women football development since there is a big gap between established and upcoming teams.
“If the so-called big teams beat up-and-coming outfits, they feel relaxed and believe they are on top of their game not knowing that they are not making any significant progress,” said Mwenda.
“But with this proposed national league, there will be good competition at both national and regional levels as teams of at least equal strength will be facing each other.”
Mhone said: “The national league will also motivate our players and provide a standard platform for selecting national team players as is the case with the men’s TNM Super League.”
China-based national team captain Tabitha Chawinga has since welcomed the move, saying it will enhance competition and provide a better platform for national team squad selection.
“This is a welcome development and the way to go to take women’s football to greater heights. A national league has always been our expectation and I am happy that finally it is coming into fruition,” she said.
Despite having no national league, Malawi’s captain Tabitha is considered among the best in Africa and albeit in the world