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Airtel unveils cup

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Many years after being locked out of elite football due to other restrictive sponsorship contracts, the door finally swung wide open for Airtel Malawi on Thursday.

Finally, the mobile phone network service provider launched a three-year K198 million Airtel Top 8 Cup for Super League teams at a ceremony held at Sunbird Mount Soche, Blantyre.

The season’s opening home-and-away knockout cup will involve 2016 best eight teams—Kamuzu Barracks, Nyasa Big Bullets, Mafco, Silver Strikers, Blue Eagles, Azam Tigers, Be Forward Wanderers and Moyale Barracks.

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To be played over three months, the ultimate winner of the competition will pocket K15 million with K5 million for the runners-up and K1 million as a participating fee for each team.

The prizes include K500,000 each for the top scorer and player of the tournament, whereas man of match reward is pegged at K50,000. The tournament will be held under ‘Football comes alive’ slogan.

The cup’s best fan will also be rewarded with K200,000, an amount also allocated to each category for the media’s best in print, television, online, photography and radio.

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Airtel Managing Director, Charles Kamoto, who signed the K66 million annual sponsorship with Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, said they were determined to leave a mark in football.

Kamoto said: “Airtel Top 8 Cup is a celebration of excellence as it involves the eight best teams. Airtel’s DNA has passion for sports.”

Taking his turn in his speech, Nyamilandu recollected how for many years Fam tried to coax Airtel into elite football sponsorship.

Airtel funds Airtel Rising Stars Football Tournament and until recently, sponsored Netball Association of Malawi.

“This is a prelude to the season. I can only ask the clubs to get ready for fire because the eagle has landed,” a fired-up Nyamilandu said.

“The green light was there. We just did not know when the vehicles would start crossing. There was always a place for Airtel in Malawi football but we did not just know when that space would be occupied.”

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