Sponsors of the Southern Region Football League, Masters Security Services, have reiterated their commitment to see out the remaining year on their contract, amid fears they were planning to pull out.
The firm’s Managing Director Alfred Gangata made the assurance on Friday, during the league’s 2017 Prize Presentation Ceremony in Blantyre.
The ceremony should have been held some two months ago but suffered two postponements for unexplained reasons by the sponsors.
The development raised fears among some participating teams and football fans on whether Masters would honour its contractual obligations in the final year.
But Gangata strongly allayed such fears by assuring the Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) and the entire soccer fraternity that his company will not abandon the league.
“A lot is being said about our commitment to the league, but we remain unmoved by such talk. We signed a three year contract in 2016, and we will abide by all terms in that deal until it runs out at the end of the 2018 season. We are a firm that stands by its word so there is no need to panic,” said Gangata.
He however admitted that it’s not easy to bankroll such a competition while operating within a tough economic environment.
“That’s why we are appealing to fellow Malawians to always support local companies and products,” he said.
In his remarks, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Commercial Director Limbani Matola, who represented his President Walter Nyamilandu during the event commended Masters for their passion in developing the game.
“There are companies out there whose annual profits hit billions, but continue to shun football sponsorship, so Masters should be applauded for sponsoring the league and a Super League team at the same time,” said Matola.
SRFA Treasurer Christopher Kuyera echoed Matola’s sentiments in thanking Gangata’s firm for honouring its contractual obligations year in, year out, despite the current economic downturn affecting the country.
The three year sponsorship is worth K10.5 million per year.
During the ceremony, the top three teams in the two divisions from last season received their prize money.
Premier Division champions Nchalo United who are now playing in the Super League got K1.8 million and a trophy, while runners-up Prison United received K1 million kwacha.
Chikwawa United pocketed K500,000 for finishing third.
The division’s top scorer Tony Biasi, then with Nchalo, but now with Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve received K50,000 for his 36 goals.
Bullets Reserve themselves went away K750,000 richer plus a trophy for emerging champions in Division One, while K500,000 went to Naming’omba for finishing second last term.
Third-placed Hangover got K300,000. Bullets Reserve new catch, Dan Dzinkambani Jnr, who won the division’s golden boot with 33 goals, in his time with Ginnery Corner pocketed K50,000 for his exploits.
SRFA will this Saturday April 28, hold its annual general meeting, ahead of the new campaign starting on 5 May.