Government has increased sponsorship for this year’s Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) from K120 million to K400 million.
Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha announced the increment when presenting the 2020/2021 National Budget pegged at K2.023 trillion in Parliament in Lilongwe Friday.
Out of K400 million, a total of K200 million will go towards football with netball getting K100 million. Other sporting disciplines such as basketball, volleyball, handball and athletics will get K100 milion.
Mwanamvekha also announced that football and netball teams will be allowed to import one bus duty free for every five years.
In reaction to the development, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu applauded the government for increasing sponsorship saying it will help to unearth talent in the rural areas.
“This is a massive and transformational. The increase will transform rural football in the districts. Now we can seriously embark on developing football from bottom up so that we can identify raw talent in the rural areas. Our dreams of unlocking talent in the rural areas will become a reality,” Nyamilandu said.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) reviewed the format of the Presidential Cup 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.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) general secretary, Carol Bapu said the PIS has helped exposing talent in the country.
“The PIS accords netball the only national event in scouting talent through a national cup. The initiative has been and it remains netball’s only sustainable sponsorship. It is our main talent development programme so we are happy with the hike in funding although we could have loved if it could have been more considering the rising cost of living,” Bapu said.
“You appreciate that most of the national teams under Nam are self- sponsored so having cup competitions with good prize money would motivate them to work extra harder.”
The Presidential Initiative on Sports was introduced in April 2008 to bridge the gap which was created by shortage of sponsorship in all sporting codes. Since it was introduced, the money is channeled through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture with the aim of promoting and developing sports in the country.