Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has introduced K60 million district competitions with the aim of spotting talent across the country.
Fam President, Walter Nyamilandu, said Fam will use part of its gate collections from football matches to run and sustain the competition.
The development comes after Fam hired regional coaches to oversee football development in rural areas.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony of the initiative Thursday during a press briefing at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre, Nyamilandu said Fam was committed to raising the bar of Malawi football through the grassroots competition.
“This is one of our biggest investments in Malawi football. We are simply ploughing back resources into the local game. Our football has struggled to reach its full potential in the past as we spent more time and energy on the elite game, ignoring the lower end. This left rural areas with no reliable competitions,” Nyamilandu said.
Fam Competitions and Marketing Chairperson, Jabber Alide, who is also the association’s vice-president, said the district leagues will start with 16 teams from each district.
Alide said the leagues will go a long way in improving the standards of football in rural areas.
“We only have the Presidential Cup in rural areas and, sadly, the number of participating teams has been on the decline as teams only play one game and they are out. Therefore, this competition will help us develop permanent leagues in our districts,” Alide said.
Southern Region Football Association Chairperson, Raphael Humba, said the introduction of the district leagues will help strengthen their league’s Division One.
“We will be promoting the competition’s district champions to our Division One. All along, we have just been registering teams anyhow in Division One. So this districts competition will help us attain high standards in our league. We will work hand-in-hand with district administrators to ensure that this initiative bears the desired fruits,” Humba said.
Also in attendance during the ceremony was Central Region Football Association Chairperson Austin Ajawa and Northern Region Football Association Vice Chairperson Charles Mbonekera.
The district league competitions will kick off once the coronavirus situation normalises.