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Fam clears mist over Airtel Top 8 deal

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has cleared the mist surrounding Airtel Top 8 Cup after disclosing that the competition will return this year.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Commercial and Marketing Director, Limbani Matola, said they have been assured by the sponsor that the cup will return in a bigger way.

“Airtel confirmed that they are coming back continuing sponsoring. What we are remaining with at the moment is to conclude the actual figures because they want to come in big. They noticed they created a property that has been useful to the brand and as Fam, we have also noticed that Airtel Top 8 has changed the game of football, has changed the competitiveness of football at elite level.

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“We [Fam] are also keen to proceed with the top 8 so we can confirm that Airtel Top 8 is coming back. What is remaining are the figures and the other package to be unveiled,” Matola said.

The football fraternity was still waiting on the future of the cup following the expiry of the three-year deal last year.

Fam and Airtel Malawi had a three-year partnership worth K166 million which came to an end in August last year.

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At the end of the partnership in August last year, Airtel Malawi left the football fraternity in suspense.

When asked about the future of the tournament on Monday, Airtel Malawi Communications Manager, Norah Chavula asked for more time before commenting on the matter saying she was busy with other engagements.

However, Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda confirmed that talks were still underway.

“We are talking but we cannot disclose details now,” Gunda said.

Fam is in the process of drafting the football calendar for the 2020 and the delay in getting a nod from Airtel Malawi would have affected the calendar.

Currently, Fam has been left with the Fisd Challenge Cup and newly introduced FDH Bank Cup.

On the FDH Bank Cup, Gunda said the FDH Bank deal was already finalised.

“We are just working on other areas such as the kick off date in our calendar but everything is in place,” he added.

The Airtel Top 8 cup was introduced in 2017 and Silver Strikers have dominated the competition after winning it twice in three years. In 2017, they won it after beating Be Forward Wanderers 10-9 on post-match penalties at Bingu National Stadium but another Lilongwe-based club Blue Eagles won it in 2018 after edging Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0.

However, Silver reclaimed it last year after a 1-0 victory over Karonga United at the same venue.

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