The dates and venues for the 2017 FMB Under 20 regional and national finals have been confirmed.
The announcement was made on Thursday during the regional and national draws held at the Mpira Village in Blantyre.
Conducting the draw were the National Youth Football Association (NYFA), sponsors FMB and the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) officials.
The regional finals will be played on 11 November while the national finals will be played on November 25.
Mangochi will host the finals in the Southern Region as Lilongwe will be the epicentre in the Central Region.
Teams in the Northern Region will converge in Karonga for the finals.
The national event goes to Mulanje. Each region has 4 teams, representing the number of competing districts.
The South has Blantyre champions Griffin Young Stars, Disciples of Zomba and Mathambi Soccer Saints from Mulanje.
According to Thursday’s draw and the competition’s rules, Mathambi are already through to the national final by virtue of originating from the national finals’ host district, Mulanje.
It means 3 teams will battle at regional level, on a round robin format to identify one winner who will join Mathambi at the national level.
Battling for regional honours in the centre will be Silver Strikers Youth of Lilongwe, Dedza Soccer Saints from Dedza, Kasungu based Chisomo Academy and Mkweza Youth from Mchinji.
During the finals Mkweza will face Chisomo in the first semifinal while Silver Youth have been paired against Soccer Saints.
The Northern Region will parade Karonga district champions Malungo who will face Woca Wanderers of Rumphi in the semifinals while Nkhatabay champions Vizara Plantation will play the champions of Mzuzu who will be known this weekend.
The race is among Sanweka, Katowo and City Stars.
Centre and North will send one team each to the national stage unlike the host region, South which will have two.
The national draw has seen Mathambi paired against the champion from the North while Central Region champions will meet their counterparts from the South.
Speaking after the draw, FMB Marketing Manager Widdy Msona applauded FAM and NYFA for the smooth running of this year’s competition.
“We commend NYFA for being professional in administering the competition. We also thank FAM for always being there to render support to NYFA. We expect to have very exciting and competitive regional and national finals, and may the best teams win,” said Msona.
On FMB’s overall impression about the league, Msona said: “We are very proud to be associated with youth football in the country. And we are happy that our investment is bearing fruits as lots of players from our league have made it into the senior and junior national teams, not to mention of the elite Super League which is plastered with FMB Under 20 talent.”
Msona’s remarks were echoed by FAM Youth Development Officer James Sangala who hailed the bank and NYFA partnership as a match made in heaven.
“This partnership has been a success for Malawi football. The FMB Under 20 league has become a huge catchment area for the super league and eventually the national teams,” said Sangala.
Daniel Makiyi who is NYFA Vice general secretary applauded the regional and district committees for a job well done this year.
“The committees have done a great job to have exciting and stiff competition in all the districts this year. We are now working to have successful regional and national finals,” said Makiyi.
This year, the league added three more districts Mulanje, Kasungu and Rumphi to take the number of competing districts to 12.
Teams compete at district level before the champions go on to tussle at regional then national level.
The tournament is pegged at K24 million kwacha and this year’s national winner will pocket K1 million kwacha.
Silver Youth are the defending champions after beating Ntopwa Super Boys last year.