Regional finals for the 2019 edition of the First Capital Bank (FCB) Under-20 Football League roll in action tomorrow with eight district champions in the Central and Northern regions set to battle for national finals slots.
In the Centre, the setting is Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota where hosts Dwangwa Factory FC will be up against Ascent Academy (Lilongwe), Soccer Saints (Dedza) and Likumbo (Salima).
In the North, Rumphi Community ground will be the venue for encounters involving Sanwecka FC (Mzuzu), Wocka FC (Rumphi), Kasoba (Karonga) and Chihame All Stars (Nkhata Bay).
National Youth Football Association (NYFA) chairperson Chimango Munthali said the South will have its games next week at either Mpira or Chilomoni Stadium where battle lines will be drawn for Inondo FC (Mangochi), Mathambi Soccer Saints (Mulanje), Disciples FC (Zomba) and eventual winners of the Blantyre District League, which has so far seen Ndirande Stars and Maggie Chombo Academy in a tight race.
“We expect mouth-watering encounters this weekend as we roll out the regional finals and we urge football lovers to come and watch the games at the respective venues in their large numbers,” Munthali said.
The national finals are expected to take place at Mulanje Stadium on November 30.
Meanwhile, during a press briefing in Blantyre on Wednesday, FCB chief operations officer Siza Makwakwa said they deliberately skipped the launching of this year’s edition in Mangochi because they wanted to use the money to enhance team prizes.
“We decided to forgo the launch activities that we have been accustomed to and it was agreed that, while we appreciate the fanfare and engagement that comes with such activities, we had to ensure that such funds get directed to where it matters most-the players; regional and national prizes,” he said .
The development means the runners’ up prize at national level has been increased from K900 000 to K1 million while prizes for winners and runners up at district level have been enhanced by K50 000. There is also an introduction of K100 000 prize for third placed team for districts. District encounters’ golden boot prize is also up from K15 000 to K25 000.