Lifeline for Malawi clubs

 

Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) plans to introduce Club Championship to be competed for by national league champions in the region.

Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, who is also competitions manager for the regional body, said they are currently searching for sponsors of the tournament.

He said with Cosafa assured of funds for Under-17, Under-20, Senior Challenge Cup and Women’s Championship, the regional body is now focusing on introducing the long overdue interclub championship.

Big Bullets and Fomboni FC of Comoros battling it
out in 2015 CAF Champions League

Said Nyirenda: “Following the new Fifa Forward Programme funds, we are assured of having all the other competitions every year. The only plan now is to introduce the interclub tournament. With sound sponsorship, the club championship will be possible.”

The competition will be played using the same format for the other Cosafa competitions, according to Nyirenda.

“The format will be that of inviting the champions from the 14 member associations using two venues and two or three groups,” he said.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda said Super League clubs stand to benefit from the competition once it is introduced.

“Apart from the league title, now the Super League clubs have something else to fight for—a place at the Cosafa Club Championship,” he said.

Malawi is the only country in Africa whose clubs do not participate in Confederation of African Football (CAF) continental competitions—Confederations Cup and Champions League—due to financial problems.

Unlike in the CAF competitions, the clubs will only be responsible for travel expenses since Cosafa pays accommodation and local running expenses for its competitions.

Top three TNM Super League clubs—leaders Be Forward Wanderers, Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets—have since welcomed the development.

Silver general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda said the Bankers will be proud to represent Malawi if they win the Super League.

“That would be a golden opportunity to expose our players,” he said.

Wanderers acting chairperson Gift Mkandawire said the Nomads are targeting to grab the league title and represent Malawi in regional and continental competitions.

Nyasa Big Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga said they would also jump at the opportunity.

The three clubs already indicated that they also want to participate in the CAF Champions League or Confederations Cup, although FAM demanded a surety of K15 million before registering the clubs by November 31.

Cosafa neighbours, Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa), have a club championship called Kagame Interclub Cup.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame began sponsoring the competition since 2002. n

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