The inaugural FISD National Challenge Cup was officially launched at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo on Saturday afternoon.
The colorful ceremony was attended by the newly appointed Sports Minister Henry Mussa, FAM Second Vice President James Mwenda and FISD Managing Director Frank Mwenechanya.
The cup, which is being sponsored to the tune of K45 million per season for the next five years, has started at the regional level where all the 2016 Presidential Cup districts Champions from all the three regions are battling it out for a place in the last 16 of the competition at the national level.
Speaking during the event, FISD’ Executive Director Moses Chirambo said the cup is not only aiming at developing talent from the grass root level but also helping Malawi to deal with the current hunger situation by encouraging Solar irrigation.
“We were sponsoring a team sometime back but after ending our agreement, we decided to sponsor a national competition aiming at nurturing talent from the grass root level.”
“Apart from this, we are also encouraging Malawians to eradicate hunger by using solar irrigation for farming. There is a relationship between football and having sufficient food because for one to watch a football match, he/she needs food to keep him/her moving and that’s why we are encouraging this,” he explained.
On his company’s expectations in the competition, he said; “We expect teams from the districts to do well up to this level to the finals,” he explained. And speaking on behalf of the Fa, Mwenda hailed FISD for the gesture saying the competition will help in developing talent.
“First of all, we would like to thank FISD forr their gesture by pumping in alot of money by sponsoring this competition. The format of the competition will help to develop talent because it is starting at the district level where real talent is discovered.”
“This will help us to identify talent for our senior national team which has been performing badly due to lack of transition so we will use this cup effectively so that by the end of the said years, we must be able to have real talent,” he said.
And on government side, Mussa said it is not about developing talent but rather, taking football as business. “Time has come to transform football into business.
This is in line with what our state president is looking for. My Ministry will support FISD with the aim of empowering them as they are developing talent through pumping in alot of money in sponsoring this cup,” he said.
During the launch, the first game in the Southern Region was between Chikwawa champions Dululu FC and Mwanza champions, Mwanza Madrid and in the end, the hosts got the better of the visitors by registering a comfortable 2-nil victory courtesy of first half strikers from Manja Chidatha and Radon James to progress into the next round of the competition.