Henry Joseph scored a last minute winner from the spot to guide Dedza Police Youth to glory in the FMB Under-20 Youth Football League after defeating Mangochi Police Youth 3-2 in the final at Zomba Community Centre Ground on Saturday.
Mangochi Police Youth had qualified for the final after beating Disciples 5-4 on post-match penalties on Friday while Dedza Police Youth stunned defending champions Fish Eagles 3-1 in the first semifinal.
This was the first time that teams from Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu failed to reach the final, clearly demonstrating the tough competition that was there this season.
Dedza Police Youth and Mangochi Police Youth duly delivered by producing exciting football in the final.
Mangochi Police Youth twice came from behind through Luciano Paul and Hassan Kajoke after Tinkhani Wazomba and Henry Joseph had given Dedza Police Youth an advantage.
The dramatic final was settled through Joseph’s 89th minute goal from the spot kick after a Mangochi Police Youth defender handled the ball in the box.
Joseph was in double bliss as his two goals won him the golden boot award with a K50,000 reward.
The Champions, Dedza Police Youth, received K750,000 plus K300,000 district prize money. They also received a set of uniforms.
Mangochi Police Youth received K500,000, a set of uniforms and K300,000 district prize money.
Kajoke’s impressive performances during the national finals earned him the player of the tournament award and with it a K50,000 reward.
FMB’s head of marketing Sylvia Mataka pledged continued support toward the league whose sponsorship was doubled to K20 million.
The sponsorship increase led to addition of Mangochi, Karonga and Mchinji to take the tally of participating districts to nine.
“Through this league, we have seen the development of players that have gone on to represent the national team. It is our goal to produce more players that will contribute to football at the top level in the country,” she said.
“We are happy that there has been an improvement in curbing age cheating. The targeted beneficiaries are the ones who are taking part in the league.”
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu hailed FMB for promoting youth football in the country.
“This league has grown big over the years and it reaches out to a lot of young players in the country. Without this league we could not have noticed talent that is in districts such as Dedza, Mangochi and Karonga. This league is crucial to football development because it provides a platform to players that we develop through the grassroots football programme,” he said
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues