…to be played in all 28 districts…
As part of raising the game, Football Association of Malawi has launched the FAM Districts Football Leagues sponsored to the tune of K60 million.
is in line with Walter Nyamilandu’s strategic plan in his manifesto as he was seeking for another term in office during the December 2019 polls.
On Thursday Nyamilandu unveiled a K60 million sponsorship package to sponsor the districts leagues, with each and every district getting between K1 million to K2 million depending on the sizes.
Speaking during the ceremony at Mpira Village in Blantyre, Nyamilandu said the leagues will fulfil the desire to raise the bar by putting more effort on the district and regional football which acts as feeder leagues to elite leagues.
“We are putting in motion our intention to shift the country’s football growth agenda to the rural areas where the masses are based.
“Our Football has struggled to reach its full potential in the past as we spent more time and energy on the Elite football and ignored the lower end,” he explained.
Nyamilandu said for the past years, football in the districts failed to reach it’s full potential as the focus was on the elite football.
“This resulted in no reliable competitions in the Rural areas and the gaps between the elite level and Districts levels in terms of systematic structures kept on widening.
“There was no professional referee, coaches and administrators at lower level and no talent at all being unearthed from the Districts for elite performance.
“But that changes now as we now put in place a cross cutting agenda of “Bottom UP” in order to unearth raw talented players,” he continued.
The FA boss believes that the newly launched league will develop teams that will be able to challenge regional and super league teams.
“The regional leagues will develop strong football clubs in the Districts to be able to challenge Regional and Super league teams and garner local community support that will fuel growth of local football teams and in the process pioneer structured and systematic development of the games.
“The leagues will also create localized competition through reasonable/considerable monetary reward and a platform for playing more games to the teams and game time to the players and build capacity for local administrators and officials by giving them an opportunity to get involved in the organization and administration, refereeing and coaching of competitive association football with a League focus.
“This will also bridge the competition and organization gap in Association football between the district and the Regional levels and once we achieve this, we believe our Game will rise from Bottom up and this is why this project’s theme is Raising the Game,” said Nyamilandu.
To make the game effective, the FA boss then revealed that his association will will train districts administrators, coaches and referees to ensure that the League and participating teams are professionally managed.
On his part, the Chairman of Marketing and Competitions Committee at the football governing body His Lordship Justice Jabbar Alide hailed FAM for the innitiative, saying the League will be a relief to districts teams as they fall short of competitions forcing them to rely on Presidential Cup which is not consistent due to unpredictable funding.
“Currently most districts do not have consistent sponsored association football competitions.”
“The only guaranteed competition is the Presidential Cup which is played on knockout basis for a period of just three months between March and June. This competition is also sometimes on and off due to unpredictable funding and over the years the turnout for the Presidential Cup has been decreasing from 1444 teams in 2013 to just 492 in 2019. Teams have been complaining that it was not worth it to join the Cup where they just play one game or a few the whole year,” he explained.
The Leagues will start as soon as possible once the on going Coronavirus crisis settles down and it will be funded by revenue collected from gate takings.
The Leagues will be played on a two-legged round robin format, and shall run alongside the country’s main football Calendar and it will be run for Nine months.
Each League will have a maximum Number of 16 teams and minimum of at least 8 teams.