Sure football stream dries up


Three things that might make or break domestic football have, at an alarming rate, happened in the last three weeks.

Three weeks ago, when Standard Bank withdrew its K43 million Knock-Out Cup purse, Football Association of Malawi (Fam), were for once the quickest and swiftest to, the following week, react by enticing on board Fisd Company Limited.

Fisd came in to fill the void with a K40 million Soccer Challenge Cup to be launched later.


It was too good to be true even Fam president, Walter Nyamilandu, admittedly had to pinch himself to believe that Fisd has responded to the football call made at short notice.

But just as the feeling of relief was sinking in, another setback crept in this week— trail-blazing Surestream Football Academy—closed its doors in Chilomoni Township.

The closure effectively shattered the only surest systematic football education programme for aspiring footballers at the grassroots.


The academy used to drill players from a tender age basics until they graduate to be exposed to competition.

The academy’s managing director, Keith Robinson, cited two chief reasons for the closure, saying “the company is no longer the operator of the Licence for exploration for any oil exploration blocs in Malawi and this (was) coupled with the ever-decreasing price of oil in the world markets.”

Scanning through the domestic football landscape, you come across academies, some worth the name, and most mere pretenders to the very notion of academies.

Most of the academies do not have structures, the money, strategic direction and expertise. It is in this respect that Surestream’s exit has left a gaping hole on the incurable wound of Malawi football.

With Surestream’s exit, now there is no systematic and sustainable football development education programme.

Yet within Surestream’s four years of existence it produced undoubtedly talented players such as Levison Maganizo, Ernest Tambe, Peter Msowoya, Mike Mkwate, Isaac Mwale and Brighton Munthali.

These up-and-coming players are knocking on the Flames door, whereas in contrast, the rest of the academies are yet to produce fruits worth mentioning.

Surestream did not, in its four years of existence, just develop players, but also ensured they were in school, paid for their medical insurance and gave them a proper home in Surestream Stadium.

With such massive investment, it looked a matter of time before Malawi exported its finest talent to clubs in Europe. However, all that is a mere unfulfilled dream.

Which is why, in the farewell message, Robinson stressed that it was important to safeguard the legacy they have left behind.

“Surestream invested well in excess of US$ 250,000 in its restoration and upkeep. The company feels honoured to have been the custodians of the facility for so long. We sincerely hope it will be maintained in its current condition to the exclusive benefit of Malawi football,” Robinson explained.

Surestream’s football project was part of Surestream Petroleum Company oil exploration project, and having sold majority shares in its block, the UK company saw no need to continue pumping more into football.

Nyamilandu, while admitting that the closure would bring consequences, said they would try to maintain the stadium’s standards.

Five years ago, what was MDC Stadium was a neglected and deserted place that was looted threat bare.

“It’s a sad development because this was an initiative put in place to fast-track the development of players who could play in Europe. It’s a lost opportunity. We understand that their involvement in football had strings attached. They have not been given a licence and that is beyond us,” Nyamilandu said.

The academy’s pioneer technical director, Peter Mponda, who parted ways with the institition to pursue his own dream under Wizards FC, sounded as heart-broken as a widow.

“The bigger issue is that we have nipped in the bud careers of many talented players, who could have changed Malawi football for decades. I thank Chris Pitman for investing in this project. It is such a pity that greed by some people, including Malawians, has culminated in all this,” Mponda said.

Fam, under its watch failed to run the stadium so there is every reason to fear for its future and 57 players that were at the academy, and indeed the broken conveyor belt of talent that was Surestream.

Fam might, as was the case with Standard Bank cup, replace football cup sponsorship, but for them to manage Surestream Stadium, let alone secure another academy investor at the Chilomoni Township facility will be a tall order.

A sure stream of football talent has indeed dried up.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker