The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has hailed First Merchant Bank (FMB) for financing the Under-20 football year for the seventh year running saying the league has been the core platform for developing talent in Malawi.
The sentiments were made by Walter Nyamilandu during the launch of the FMB Under-20 season for the 2016/17 campaign at St Paul’s Seminary Ground in Mangochi on Saturday.
Nyamilandu, while hailing FMB for the efforts, said the league has helped top tier teams pick up blossoming talents who end up helping the national team in the long run and also carry Malawi’s flag abroad.
The FA leader then called on Super League teams to cast their nets wider in the rural areas to scout for youthful players whom they can even rope into the their respective reserve sides.
In echoing the same sentiments, Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia said that there was need to increase the package so that the league involves all youthful teams in all the districts in the country.
She made this suggestion having learnt that the MK20 Million bounty packaged league is only involving teams from nine districts in the country.
Chiumia could not fail to state government’s assurance towards the noble course FMB has been championing for the seven years the league has been running.
”As government we will give all the required support to the league. You are well aware that the youths taking part in the league are the ones we will be cheering in the next few years as flag carriers for the national team as well as playing for clubs outside Malawi and in a way uplifting their own lives and those of their relations. In the long run this is development to the nation,” she said.
FMB through Philip Madinga who is the company’s Group General Manager Corporate & Commercial Banking said the bank has been driven to still finance the league due to miscellaneous contributions the league has had on the country’s football let alone the capacity building of people.
He said that in most of the matches, the bank drills people on the importance of the culture of saving as they open bank accounts and in the end they save money and uplift their economic stand.
According to Madinga, the league has produced some of the players who are now big guns in the elite league -something he said is a sublime achievement.
“You could agree with me that this league has been the source of some of the players who are now big names in the top tier. For example, Miracle Gabeya, Dalitso Sailesi, Chawanangwa Kaonga and Isaac Kaliati to name but a few came from this league. This has moved us as a bank to continuously run the league and also make necessary changes to the league like increasing the package. This is why districts participating in the league this season are 9, somewhere we did not start from,” said Madinga.
FMB has been sponsoring the Under-20 Youth Football League since 2009; the sponsorship which started at K 4 million is now at K20 million while participation that started with 4 districts has grown to 9 districts.
In the main match of the day, Zomba Under-20 Select beat Mangochi Under-20 Select by three goals to nil.
Southern Region Socials beat FMB Socials 2-0 in the curtain raiser of the match.