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Cosafa explains under -17 hosting benefits

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By Peter Kanjere:

Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has given an insight into what Malawi stands to benefit in general from Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) hosting of the under-17 championship in July 2019.

Cosafa Deputy Secretary General, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the benefits of hosting the championship, which is expected to attract eight teams, would cut across all sectors.

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He said, while Fam and the government through the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development must budget for the championship, Cosafa will meet most expenses.

“Cosafa will meet all accommodation expenses for the teams at hotels to be chosen with the assistance of Fam. Cosafa will also meet local transport expenses for teams and officials. Cosafa will also provide training courses to local personnel in coaching, refereeing, administration, volunteers and ball-boys.

“Cosafa will also train media personnel and a few young ambitious individuals will be used as interns for television production—whether for Supersport or Kwese, who are partners of Cosafa—and will beam these games across the continent,” Nyirenda said.

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Countries that have hosted such tournaments benefit a lot. For example, Cosafa trained referees and coaches during the 2017 and 2018 under-20 championship which took place in Zambia.

Cosafa also sponsored a youth competition in the neighbouring country which, according to its 2017 national budget statement, was budgeted at 60 million Zambia kwacha.

For this reason, the former Fam general secretary (Nyirenda) said it was important for the Malawi football fraternity and all sectors to seize the opportunity.

Local football authorities will also have to refurbish venues for training and actual matches.

“This will be a great opportunity for Fam’s sponsors, and others who would like to be partners, to be exposed to far-reaching areas

 Fam will also be responsible for ticket production and all gate proceeds will be in the hands of Fam. That is how the win-win situation works. Cosafa will make sure that Fam is not in debt after the tournament,” Nyirenda said.

Roughly, Cosafa secretariat brings to such competitions 25 members of staff, 20 referees and each team comprises 27 members, translating to a delegation of 261.

Fam Vice President, James Mwenda, who heads the association’s youth and technical sub-committee, said hosting the tournament increases the Junior Flames’ chances of winning the championship.

“For a long time, the team has played good football but, at times, they lose because of playing away, so this could be an opportunity for them to play in front of the home crowd,” Mwenda said Tuesday.

In chickening out from hosting 2018 Cosafa Senior Championship, Botswana Football Association is quoted as saying they were not up to the task because, according to Cosafa, the hosting member association must provide 25 percent of the required full budget.

The junior Flames, under the tutelage of Deklerk Msakakuona, once won bronze in 2016 and 2017 tournaments held in Mauritius.

Last year, Malawi failed to go past group stages in Mauritius.

Malawi also hosted a similar event in 2001 and the junior Flames won the championship at Kamuzu Stadium.

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