The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has entrusted Play Soccer Malawi, with the task to identify players who will be recruited into its academies.
Last month FAM announced plans to establish four football academies, one each in cities of Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu next year.
And according to FAM President Walter Nyamilandu, the scouting exercise will be carried out by Play Soccer Malawi.
Nyamilandu disclosed this at the weekend, during the finals of the Play Soccer Under 12 tournament at St Andrews High School ground in Ndirande, Blantyre.
The tournament was sponsored by Alick Msowoya to the tune of K1.5 million kwacha.
“We are at an advanced stage to roll out the four academies next year. We will look for the best players in the four cities, so we will need to come up grassroot tournaments to achieve that. Play Soccer are good at organising such competitions as they have done here, so they will take charge of the identification process in all areas to assemble the cream, which will be nurtured for the future of our game” said Nyamilandu.
In his remarks Play Soccer Director Patricio Kulemeka hailed FAM for recognising his body in such a historic venture.
“We feel humbled to take part in the academy project. This tells us that FAM has confidence in our work. When time is right to get to work next year, we will not disappoint” said Kulemeka.
Speaking of the tournament, Nyamilandu applauded Msowoya for bankrolling the competition, saying FAM alone cannot cater for all areas.
“These individual sponsorships are very critical in football development, because they are tapping on specific areas where we are not involved, they bridge the gap in resource mobilisation by addressing the needs of a community. This will help unearth the hidden but also help the kids in health, behavioural change, hard work in school and their general upbringing. Coming from a man who is not a politician but just a football fan, this is commendable” said Nyamilandu.
Msowoya developed the interest to invest in the game, because his son Rehoboth is a football player for one of the teams monitored by Play Soccer.
He was overwhelmed with the talent in the 8 week competition and promised to sponsor it for the next seven years.
“Iam so impressed with what i have seen and if this is replicated in other areas within Blantyre and beyond, the future for Malawi football looks bright. Am therefore committed to sponsoring this tournament for the next seven years. Next year we will raise the package upon recommendations from the organisers. I will be so glad to see these kids play for the super league and contribute to the success of the national team in future” said Msowoya.
He added “as you know that Play Soccer is not just about football but promoting good health, hard in school and discipline, here we are also grooming productive and responsible citizens for the future. Whichever career they embrace when they grow up, the kids will value team work because they have learnt that in football, nobody is on his own and so too in life”
Namalimwe Primary School beat Open Arms 4-2 on penalty shootouts to emerge as champions, while Morning Stars edged Grey Stars to finish third.
The champions got 15 pairs of school shoes with each of the 15 players receiving his own, while the runners up got 15 school bags.
Third placed Morning Stars received 15 pairs of canvas shoes while each of the Grey Stars players went home with a pack 6 hard covers.
Msowoya made sure there was enough for everyone involved, as all the 120 players received 10 exercise books each.
8 teams participated in the tournament each registering 15 players.
Blantyre girls, an all girls side was among the teams.
Play Soccer Programme Manager Silas Luwindo described the tournament as a huge success and asked for a hike in the package next year, in order to encompass a wider reach.
Besides the FAM President, general secretary Alfred Gunda, national team coach Ron Van Geneugden, his assistant Gerald Phiri, FAM Technical Director John Kaputa and Youth Development Officer James Sangala all witnessed the finals.
Vinjeru “Mahrez” Dulla, Shamilner Kazembe, Precious Kumwenda, Lockie Mkandawire, Zinenani Chimenya and Tendai Sani (both girls), were some of the stars of the tournament.
Silver Strikers wonderboy Thuso Paipi, Nyasa Big Bullets midfielder Anzeru Joseph and his brother Blessings of Wizards fc are some of the products of Play Soccer.
National under 20 starlets Chimwemwe Idana and Nixon Nyasulu both of Bullets reserve and national women’s football defender Emily Jossam, have also walked through the same corridors.