World football governing body Fifa has extended its support for K30 million Under-15 Youth Football League after getting satisfied with the progress of the two-year pilot projecte.
Fifa launched the global football development plan to support youth domestic leagues as a link between grass roots and professional levels.
The project is the first of its kind in southern Africa and second on the continent after Cameroon also benefited from the same.
Malawi was picked for the two-year pilot project since “It already had successful grass roots programmes in place
and has a clear development strategy for the coming years,” according to Fifa head of education and technical Jurg Nepfer.
A correspondence between Fifa and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) which we have seen, states that the world football governing body will offer Malawi technical and education support for the league.
“After assessing and analysing the domestic youth football league supported by Fifa in your member association for the last two years, Fifa would like to inform you that we will offer you a third year of support youth football in your country.
“Fifa is pleased that the domestic youth league in your association is well organised and established and that it has fulfilled the criteria in the past, which makes you eligible to benefit from this proactive and exceptional support,” the letter signed by Fifa technical development officer Marco van Bastern.
Fifa is expected to offer coaching and refereeing courses for the officials involved.The 16 teams (comprising 20 players) involved will get equipment for their coaches, bibs, shorts, shin guards, socks, boots, match balls, cones and goalkeeping equipment.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the extension of the youth development programme is a big step in grass roots football development.
“This programme is very important in football development. Within these two years, the project has done wonders to grass roots football. We already maintained it in our programmes, with or without Fifa support. Now that Fifa has decided to extend the support it is good news to us.”
According to FAM technical director John Kaputa, the league exposed 360 under-16 players.
The teams involved are from Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Chiradzulu, Zomba Urban, Zomba Rural and Phalombe in Eastern Region while Central Region had Kasungu, Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Salima, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mchinji, Lilongwe Urban, Lilongwe Rural East and Lilongwe Rural West.
The new season is expected to involve all the 28 districts in the country. n