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FMB pledges U-20 League expansion

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First Merchant Bank (FMB) has announced plans to extend its Under-20 Football League to all districts, following the success of the bank’s current sponsorship.

FMB Marketing Manager Widdey Nsona, who was accompanied by Regional Commercial Manager-South, Thenga Chipeta, announced the plans during a press briefing which the bank hosted at its headquarters in Blantyre in view of the league’s scooping of Best Executed Programme Award on Friday.

During the inaugural Malawi Sports Awards held in Lilongwe, Griffin Saenda Junior of Griffin Young Stars was named Coach of the Year while the team’s player, Peter Banda, was voted Sportsman of the Year. Malawi under-17 national football, which is dominated by players from the league, was also named Best National Team.

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Nsona said they were not surprised that the league and its products dominated the awards.

“We are overwhelmed by the awards. It has been a wonderful journey for FMB; from [sponsoring] three districts to 12. Our vision is to be in every district as there is a lot of untapped talent. We are happy with the impact of the league on Malawi football. We increased sponsorship from K24 million to K30 million and we will continue to be committed. We are happy that out of 42 sports codes, we dominated the awards,” he said.

National Youth Football Association Chairperson, Chimango Munthali, said they were growing together with the bank in developing football.

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“We have many leagues in the country but to have our player [Peter Banda] called up for the senior national team’s camp training speaks volumes of the quality of our league. Out of 18 players that won bronze at the Cosafa Under-17 Championship last year, 16 were from the FMB League,” he said.

Football Association of Malawi General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, said there was need to safeguard FMB’s sponsorship.

“Our goal is to ensure that the FMB brand is protected from the funny things that happen in football. Out of 42 registered sports codes under Malawi National Council of Sports, it is only us that have dominated [the awards]. We can only build on this strength to continuously go forward. Peter needs to stick to good behaviour and focus on the future. Let us encourage and promote such talent,” he said.

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