The 2017 Presidential Initiative on Sports will kick off this coming April with a new format in place.
According to a statement released by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), this year’s Presidential Cup will focus on five developmental areas which are namely the Presidential Under-17 League, the Presidential District Championship, Presidential Beach Soccer Cup, the Presidential Capacity Development Programme and the Presidential Women Football.
The K60 million Presidential Cup started in the year 2009 with an aim to identify talent on the grassroot level but over the years the cup has become like any other cup in the country hardly serving its intended purpose.
The Malawi FA has since announced that this year’s cup will be different from the past six editions.
“The PIS for 2017 will take a different format from the past 6 editions following Malawi Government’s endorsement of FAM’s proposal to turn the programme into a developmental one and taking out Super League and Regional Leagues teams,” reads part of the statement.
The statement further states that the Presidential Under-17 league will be a national league for Under-17 teams and will be played in nine districts, which have National Youth Committee structures.
“The Presidential Under-17 League will be played in the nine districts with National Youth Football Committee structures namely Karonga, Mzuzu and Nkhatabay in the North, Lilongwe, Mchinji and Dedza in the South and Blantyre, Mangochi and Zomba in the South,” the statement says.
The Presidential Under-17 league will be aimed at bridging the gap between the FIFA/FAM Under-15 league and the FMB Under-20 football league.
In the Presidential Under-17 league at least 10 teams will be registered from every district and the games will be played in a league format of two.
The league is expected to be played for eight months between April and October and participation teams will pay a registration fee of K20,000.
According to the statement, the Presidential District Championship will be a tournament for each of the 29 districts and it will end at district level.
The championship will be played in a round of robin format starting from the Zones and Knockout at District finals. The district Championship is aimed at establishing a reliable competitive football tournament in each district with the district championship leading to the formation of a district select to participate in the FISD Challenge.
In this competition, each district is expected to register at least 64 teams with each team paying K10, 000 as registration fees and registration will end on 19th March.
The competition will be played from March to June. Presidential Women Football Cup will continue from the old format which is aimed to continue development of Women Football in the country.
The Presidential Women Football Cup will start from the 15 districts across the country with the district champions joining seeded teams for the regional championship.
Then the regional champions will square it up in the national championship.
The tournament will be played on knockout basis between April and June 2017. The Presidential Beach Soccer Cup will carry on with the old format with teams competing on knockout basis in the four Zones namely Karonga, Chintheche, Salima and Mangochi and all participating teams will pay a registration fee of K10, 000.00.
The tournament will be used to identify the participants of the FAM Cup with two top teams in each zone making it to the national competition to be played later in the year.
The Presidential Capacity Developmental Programme will be focusing on organising courses and training for administrators, match officials and coaches at developmental levels.
Currently the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has invited all interested football teams to register and participate in various Presidential Football competitions which are expected to kick-off on 26th March 2016.