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Presidential Cup hangs in limbo

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Ulemu Msungama

Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) has been thrown into serious doubts as there is no provision of funds in the 2020/21 National Budget.

Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu presented to Parliament the 2020/21 National Budget last month in which he outlined three key sports projects namely the Indoor Sports Complex, Rehabilitation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports and construction of Mzuzu Youth Centre.

The development cast doubt on the future of the initiative which was launched in April 2008 to bridge the gap which was created by the shortage of sponsorship in all sporting codes.

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However, Minister of Youth and Sports, Ulemu Msungama said that the competition would be considered.

“I would like to assure Malawians that the Presidential Cup will be back in a bigger way as we want to revive all sporting disciplines in the country. Once we finalise all arrangements, we will announce a new package for the initiative,” Msungama said.

The Presidential Initiative on Sports covers most of the sporting disciplines such as football, netball, basketball, volleyball, boxing and handball among others.

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Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) is one of the key beneficiaries of initiative but the association’s General Secretary Carol Bapu was reluctant to comment on the matter.

Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) General Secretary Peter Gomani said he had no official communication.

Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) reviewed the format of the Presidential Cup in men’s football which saw TNM Super League clubs being barred from taking part since 2016 with the aim of unearthing talent at grass roots.

Previously, Super League teams used to join the competition at national level. The winners of the football competition at national level were pocketing K10 million whereas the runners-up were getting K5 million.

However, in netball top flight teams continue to take part in the competition since it was introduced. In June this year, immediate past Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha announced increased sponsorship from K120 million to K400 million when he presented the 2020/21 National Budget. But the budget was abandoned.

Out of K400 million, a total of K200 million was supposed to go towards football whereas netball was allocated K100 million. Other sporting disciplines such as basketball, volleyball, handball and athletics were expected to share K100 million.

Presidential Initiative sponsorship is channeled through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture with the aim of promoting and developing sports in the country.

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