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Youth teams hungry for action

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National Youth Football Association (NYFA) has revealed that youth teams have shown massive interest to participate in this year’s FMB Under-20 Youth Football League, but the association cannot accommodate them all.

NYFA Vice-Secretary Chimango Munthali said the development entails that there was need to invest in more youth leagues because the teams are starved of action at several levels.

The FMB Under-20 League is competed in Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay, Karonga, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Dedza, Zomba, Blantyre and Mangochi with a maximum of 20 teams required in each district.

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Currently 121 teams are participating in this year’s league and Mzuzu and Lilongwe have the biggest participation with 18 teams each.

Munthali said they had contemplated adding the number of teams, but they shelved the plans.

“It is an indication of how marketable the FMB League is and that has always been our target to sell this brand. Therefore it is a call for more sponsors to assist in the other districts and age categories,” he said.

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“Teams from other districts are pushing to be accepted in the districts that we have the league but we said no because the leagues are district specific and we support low cost models that are successful and sustainable.”

On the issue of curbing age cheating this season, Munthali said the process of vetting had been successful with only a few gaps observed.

“There might be some few teams with some more players requiring vetting because most of their initial squads had over-aged players. For these teams they will have to shoulder the expenses of the vetting team,” he said.

NYFA was using district-based regional committee members to do the preliminary vetting and providing a provisional approval for the players, pending the main vetting team’s visit.

This year’s sponsorship is at K20 million with the national champions’ purse increased to K1 million.

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