Nine years of the Presidential Initiative on Sports


For sports to develop in any country, there is need for resources to be invested in the growth of talent in up-and-coming athletes.

Realising this, government introduced the Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) in April, 2008 to fill the gap which was created by the shortage of sponsors in all sporting disciplines.

The move ensured that at least all sporting disciplines in the country benefitted through competitions for their athletes.


Government channeled PIS’ resources through the Ministry of Sports to primarily promote and develop sports in the country.

Since its inception, the competition has been run by different associations affiliated to the Malawi National Council of Sports.

Over the years, stakeholders have viewed the achievements of PIS from different angles.


National Women Football Association President, Severia Chalira, has branded the initiative a success in the nine years of its existence.

“We have seen players from rural areas gaining exposure through PIS. It has also given opportunities to young girls at their level to participate in football, thereby finding something to keep them busy.

“However, we are facing a lot of challenges which include lack of administration skills in our district committees which has led to poor match organisation. But we expect some change this year because Fam (Football Association of Malawi) Competitions Manager, Gomezgani Zakazaka, went around and trained our members on how to organise games,” Chalira said.

She also cited high affiliation fees as another challenge her association is facing in administering PIS.

Chalira said most teams from rural areas do not register because they cannot afford affiliation fees especially after considering the prize money at district level.

National Youth Football Association Chairperson, Chimango Munthali, said youth football has not benefitted much from PIS.

“There has been very little that we have benefited from PIS as youth football. Basically, we are looking at combining both the elite and developmental teams in one pool. But we are pleased that the initiative has now changed to targeting youth teams only. We are talking of the money being used for Under 17 teams in nine districts first, before extending to another 12 districts,” Munthali said.

Volleyball Association of Malawi (Vam) General Secretary, Jairos Nkhoma, says the initiative has helped the association identify talent from different parts of the country.

“In volleyball, PIS is yielding results. As Vam, we have grown up to rural areas courtesy of the presidential cups that are competed for among schools at regional level. We get about K1 million as our annual allocation to run the competition which is very little of course,” Nkhoma said.

Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Labour and Manpower Development, could not paint a clear picture of how PIS has been run over the years.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Simon Mbvundula, referred this reporter to Director of Sports, Jameson Ndalama, who also declined to comment, saying he was out of the country and referred the matter back to Mbvundula.

But former Be Forward Wanderers chairperson, Humphreys Mvula, said the initiative has failed to achieve its objectives because of political interference.

“Before embarking on this journey, government should have reverted sports to the ministry of education which reaches out to the youth through education institutions. In those years, most of our football players were being identified through school competitions like Mayors Trophy, MBS Trophy and Cocacola Trophy, among others. The Ministry of Sports does not have proper structures for promoting the unearthing of talent before policy formulation,” Mvula said.

He also said government should empower district and regional sports officers with more resources to enable them carry out meaningful grassroots development programmes.

Mvula said there is need for teachers to be trained as football administrators and youth football coaches to help them spot raw talent in their localities.

“In the absence of a proper framework, I would be reluctant to state that there have been tangible benefits from PIS. Additionally, Fam and Sports Council should have played a complimentary roles by, among other initiatives, working with government in the setting of guidelines in unearthing raw talent through this initiative. The two bodies should also assist government in developing a curriculum that would promote the unearthing of this raw talent,” Mvula added.

It is also worth noting that the prize money for PIS has not been increased despite the kwacha considerably losing value over the years.

Minority sports disciplines have also been asking government to hike their K1 million cut from the initiative to match the rising costs of administering the competition and prizes.

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