Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was on Saturday amazed with the abundance of talent spotted during the launch of the K3 million Henry Mussa Football Trophy at Nkhwayi Primary School Ground in Chiradzulu.
According to FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who was accompanied by general secretary Alfred Gunda, technical director John Kaputa and Flames assistant coach Gerald Phiri, they did not expect players that have not been exposed to formal football systems in the rural areas to have fantastic soccer skills.
During the launch, Black Mambas beat Namulu FC 2-1 in the main game while Makuwa FC forced a one-all draw against Mulanje-based Fomo FC in the curtain-raiser.
“This is amazing; I did not expect that football could be played in such a well-coordinated manner in this informal competition,” said Nyamilandu.
“Despite the teams having unqualified coaches and the pitch being bumpy, the players were able to string together a number of passes and keep the ball down. Now, what if they have qualified trainers and play on a perfect surface? This is great.”
The FAM boss has since said they will deploy regional coaches who will be tasked to spot and unearth hidden talent from both formal and informal football leagues nationwide.
Meanwhile, Phiri has said he has listed down names of at least eight players from the event who will be given an opportunity to try their luck during the imminent monthly training camps.
On his part, Mussa, who is Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism and legislator for Chiradzulu East, said he was happy that FAM has learned about the talent his annual competition has been producing since the inaugural contest 18 years ago.
“I deliberately invited FAM and other football stakeholders to see for themselves the abundance of talent we have in rural areas. I wanted to prove that it should not only be a privilege for youths in town to get opportunities of playing for TNM Super League clubs and the national teams,” he said.
Mussa gave teams that played during the launch football uniforms apart from providing a ball to each of the 16 outfits in the tournament. FAM also made an additional donation of 16 balls to the teams; meaning each side got two soccer balls.
The event was also witnessed by other high-profile people such as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha, Malawi National Council of Sport (MNCS) board chairperson James Chuma and executive secretary George Jana alongside business tycoon Jimmy Korea Mpatsa. n