The K1.6m walk


Lack  of sponsorship is one of the biggest problems affecting development of most sports disciplines in the country.

In a world whose activities revolve around money, there is no denying the fact that stakeholders in all sports disciplines require financial support to fulfil their respective mandates.

Administrators need money to run various aspects of their games while athletes also look forward to financial rewards each time they perform well.


Sport becomes even more expensive when the travel aspect is factored into it. Athletes, officials and administrators find themselves facing the challenge of making long and expensive trips outside the country to take part in international competitions.

To achieve this, most sports disciplines look up to the government for support as they do not have the financial muscle to take their competitors to various international competitions.

The government being an entity whose hands are full most of the times considering its numerous responsibilities, it does not come as a surprise to hear pleas going to the companies, organisations and individuals to complement government’s efforts in developing sports.


Besides bankrolling various sports disciplines’ travel to international competitions, the government has been sponsoring about 22 associations to ensure that they organise competitions for their athletes.

The main aim of this fund, christened Presidential Initiative on Sports, has been to develop talent at grassroots level.

The government might have indeed played its part on sponsoring local competitions but the fact that funding to the initiative has never been hiked since introduction over 10 years ago means sports disciplines are not benefitting as much as they were supposed to.

Football gets the lion’s share of the purse with K60 million with netball coming second at K30 million.

Malawi Schools Sports Association gets the third highest allocation of K3 million with 19 other associations getting K1 million each.

The reality of the local economic climate is that it keeps worsening every year and the effect is that the value of the sponsorship deteriorates.

This has also been the case with the TNM Super League whose prize money has remained the same since introduction in 2016.

Teams have even complained on several occasions that they spend more than the K15 million which goes to the winner after almost nine months of league action, stretching from April to December.

Most Super League clubs’ budgets hover around K100 million each season and no competition pays out even a quarter of what the teams spend.

What is even more pathetic is the fact that a good portion of teams in the country’s leagues are sponsored by individuals who do not get any worthwhile returns from their investment.

One thing for sure is that it is very difficult to make sports a profitable business in Malawi because of lack of sponsorship.

In countries where sport thrives, it is sponsors who go around hunting for teams or competitions to bankroll.

This results into automatic hikes in sponsorship as demand ends up being high and supply low.

But things are different in the Malawi scenario where securing sponsorship is one of the biggest challenges in sports.

This is why there is fanfare and pomp each time a club or association clinches a sponsorship deal.

Over the past three weeks, the sports fraternity has seen football getting what it needed most-an increase in prize money for cup competitions.

The first development which saw Football Association of Malawi (Fam) officials grinning from ear to ear was Fisd Company Limited’s announcement of the return of the K60 million Fisd Challenge Cup whose winner would cart home K20 million.

One good turn deserves another, so they say. As if to outshine Fisd, FDH Bank came onto the scene with a K90 million cup that would see the champion pocketing a cool K25 million!

The bank signed a five-year deal with Fam, effective next season. This means K450 million would go to football from FDH Bank over half a decade.

Football has not been the only beneficiary of FDH’s generosity was also extended to boxing.

The bank pumped K1 million into Besao Boxing Promotions’ bout between Chikondi ‘Mtengo-wa-minga’ Makawa and Limbani ‘The Lion’ Masamba which ended in a stalemate at Motel Paradise in Blantyre last Sunday.

According to FDH Financial Holdings Limited Group Chief Executive Officer, Thomson Mpinganjira, he decided to bankroll the bout after meeting Besao director, Bester Saopa, on several occasions as he walked from his Umoyo House office to Ryalls Hotel.

“I like to walk each time I have something to do at Ryalls Hotel and it was on one of those days when Mr Saopa stopped me. He told me about a fight he had organised and asked for my support.

“I first gave out K600,000 and when I returned to my office, I engaged my marketing team on sponsoring the bout. We agreed on a K1 million sponsorship as a starting point. My marketing team is currently mapping out the way forward after a successful fight on Sunday,” Mpinganjira said.

He said they would consider sponsoring other bouts outside Blantyre after boxing lovers from as far as Mzuzu asked for the same.

“We are a Malawian bank with customers all over the country and we are listening to what they are saying. We are looking into the possibility of supporting a boxing bout like we did in Blantyre. We will try to follow our customers and entertain them where they are,” Mpinganjira said.

FDH Bank also sponsors the Malawi national football team.

Saopa said the bank’s sponsorship had given him the desire to organise more bouts across the country.

“It is my hope that FDH Bank will continue sponsoring my bouts. Organising bouts does not come cheap. There is a lot that one needs financially. I did my best to organise the fight between Makawa and Masamba, and the rest is for the bank to decide,” he said.

After all is said and done, it is money that makes the world go round.

Sport certainly needs as much sponsorship as possible if it is to thrive and meaningfully contribute to the economy.

To achieve this, the sports sector must find ways of convincing companies and organisations that there are greats returns in sponsoring different sporting activities.

Otherwise FDH Bank and Fisd Company Limited should be commended for taking the lead in investing more money in sports.

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