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Football’s busy six months

By Ronald Mpaso:

The game of football promises an eventful return in the year 2019, with the new season set to officially kick off on March 30 with the Chifundo Charity Shield set for Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

But despite teams being on an off-season break, there has been plenty of football-related activity in the year with Mpira Connect rolling over in January, according to Football Association of Malawi’s calendar.

The same month was also observed as a deadline for Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Club Licensing applications, with the 2018 TNM Super League prize presentation ceremony taking place on January 26.

February started with a meeting of Fam’s Competitions Sub-Committee, followed by the opening of the Domestic Transfer Matching System (DTMS).

The month will also see Fam’s Executive Committee meeting taking place, followed by the Airtel Top 8 draw.

March will be a busier month with TNM Super League clubs finalising their submission of Club Licensing requirements.

There will also be elections for Super League of Malawi in Salima and a meeting of the Club Licensing System’s First Instance Body to review Super League teams’ eligibility for participation in the top flight league.

During the same month, the Airtel Top 8 trophy will be unveiled, with another Club Licensing meeting set to follow.

On March 20 and 26, Malawi under-23 national football team will take on Zambia in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) under-23 tournament whose finals will take place in Egypt. The top three teams will represent Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The senior national team will play its last 2019 Afcon qualifier against Morocco on March 23 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre. There will also be a Fam Executive Committee meeting in March.

April 6 is the day when the Super League and the country’s three regional leagues are expected to kick off.

Malawi is also expected to send a team to this year’s Cosafa beach soccer tournament which runs from April 5-7.

There will also be first leg quarterfinal matches in the Airtel Top 8 Cup, with the FCB under-20 national youth football league and regional women’s football leagues kicking off.

An African Nations Championship match between Malawi and eSwatini will also be played in April. There will be an unveiling ceremony of the 2019 Carlsberg Cup while the second quarterfinal matches of the Airtel Top 8 will also be played in April.

The last day of the fourth month of the year will see the closure of the DTMS, marking the end of the current transfer window.

In May, Malawi will play a return match against eSwatini with the Carlsberg Cup regional phase kicking off. In the same month, Malawi will be in Zimbabwe for the Cosafa Cup.

The month of June is set to be the busiest as it will see the first semifinal of the Airtel Top 8, a continuation of the Cosafa Cup, Carlsberg Cup regional matches and the second Airtel Top 8 semifinal.

Carlsberg Cup’s national phase draw will also take place within the month to be followed by Fam’s Executive Committee meeting and the Airtel Top 8.

Fam Competitions and Communications Director, Gomezgani Zakazaka, said the release of the football calendar aims at helping stakeholders in the game to plan and prepare for their activities.

“It will certainly be an eventful year full of action both locally and internationally. Of course there will be some minor changes here and there because of other circumstances but this is the general outlook of the game this year,” Zakazaka said.

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