Beach soccer may be seen as a less popular sport in the country, but 2017 seemed to be one of the best years for the sport.
Beach Soccer Association, General Secretary, Davis Sado, told The Daily Times that they had a fruitful year in terms of development of the sport.
For the first time, the association had its Fifa/Fam Cup sponsorship raised from K3.5 million to K7 million.
“This was a great motivation to the players because winners used to pocket K500, 000 and below, but this year they took home K1.5 million. So, you can imagine the excitement that was there from the players, officials and others,” Sado said
The competition took place at Livingstonia Beach in Salima in October.
Ten teams took part in the competition including Jetty, Chifyo (Chilumba Zone), Hot Boys, Nyerere Pakwawo (Chintheche Zone), Sunbird Livingstonia, Parachute Battalion (Salima Zone), Escom, Sunbird Nkopola (Mangochi Zone), Vinthenga and Chiputa (Nkhotakota Zone).
Sunbird Nkopola retained the cup after beating hosts, Sunbird Livingstonia, 1-0.
The beach soccer national team also had a good year.
After two years of idleness, the team has been re-assembled and is camping in Mangochi ahead of its international assignment in Tanzania from December 22 to 26 at Coco Beach Area, Oysterbay.
“Apart from the competitions, our efforts were also recognised by international bodies such as Fifa. Apart from the financial support that we use to fund our cup, they also sent an Italian instructor for our referees.
“This was also a milestone in beach soccer because, for once, we experienced improvement in officiation. The referees were also taught advanced knowledge of the sport,” Sado said.
The only regional league, which is active within the association, is for the Central Region.
Led by Allie Mwachande, the regional league sourced sponsorship from Impakt Events Company which Lucius Banda manages.
Banda committed K500, 000 towards the sponsorship of the league.
Mwachande rose to the chairmanship during a successful annual general meeting which the Beach Soccer Association held in October in Salima.
Despite registering successes, the association encountered some challenges during the year.
Sado said the biggest challenge is lack of sponsorship from the corporate world.
“It seems most companies are used to supporting traditional games such as football and netball. However, we are trying our best to ensure that we convince them to use the sport for their marketing purposes. Most teams are self-sponsored which makes them unable to participate in most competitions,” he said.
The General Secretary further said the association wants to open a new centre in Nkhotakota in 2018 so that other games should be hosted there.
“In terms of equipment, we do not have a problem because we get support from Fifa through Football Association of Malawi,” he said.
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