Having been in oblivion for a decade, the Blantyre City Mayor’s Trophy is now back.
‘’We are very happy to bring back the lost glory the Mayor’s had ten years ago,’’ Blantyre City Mayor Noel Chalamanda could not hide his pleasure at the resumption of the trophy during the inauguration ceremony which saw the presence of representatives of several companies on Wednesday at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.
The Mayor’s Trophy involves football and netball contests among primary school pupils and will be running a few months after the Blantyre City Sports Day, which covers various sports disciplines such as football, netball, cricket, handball, tennis, athletics and taekwondo among under-15 youths.
According to Chalamanda, the trophy has been placed at MK10 million with sights set on the corporate world for additional sponsorship to the prize as well as supporting various school teams and sporting disciplines.
But why was is it necessary to have the trophy back? Chalamanda argued that the previous running of the trophies had seen the un-tapping of scintillating talent – something which he noted has seemingly not been the case lately.
‘’Talents emerged in the previous trophies but the break of not having councillors over the years has been a setback. We want to have professional athletes in Malawi and this trophy is worth it to be back,’’ said the Mayor in an interview.
While urging the corporate world to chip in and help with the running of the trophy, the Mayor said the trophy will also take away the folly of youthful primary school pupils from indulging in miscellaneous anti-social acts.
On his part, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa who was the guest of honor said it was high time the trophy was reintroduced.
‘’You see, this is what helped us unearth talents before. The idea remains welcome. It is our hope that other council will emulate this,’’ he said.
There are 35 councils in Malawi and Nankhumwa argued that if similar trophies are held in all the councils, it would mean Malawi is developing with sport.
He cited celebrated netballer Mary Waya and Joseph Kamwendo as some of the athletes the trophy helped bring to the limelight.
The Minister then made a MK1 million pledge towards the trophy.
Later, Waya narrated her story of how the trophy helped her in her netball career.
In making a presentation, Blantyre City Director of Leisure, Culture and Environment, Sylvester Mitini-Nkhoma said the trophy comes in support of the long standing goal of the council of promoting recreation, exposing talent, and placing a platform for youths to expose their talents.
‘’The City Council has been working towards exposing talent and the pupils at that levels. However various challenges like lack of infrastructure, motivation and proper training have been dragging us behind,’’ He noted. Council has since urged residents of Blantyre to take part in the activities.
The trophy is slated to start this month with the finals in December with up to 50 schools taking part.