Some 700 children will walk the first fundamental step towards a football career from next month, thanks to a platform provided by Chigoli Under-12 Football Cup for Lilongwe City.
Chigoli, a non-government organisation (NGO), announced on Thursday the birth of the cup, which they will run in partnership with the Central Region Youth Football Committee.
The competition will comprise four zones, each with 16 community teams pooling together about 700 youngsters. The cup will be played on April 10, 11, 12 and April 18, says a statement released by Chigoli on Thursday.
“Key football development years happen before the age of 16. It is these younger players that need a greater focus on development and education if Malawi is to see a long-term improvement in the standard of players available to the Flames,” says the NGO.
National Youth Football Committee (NYFC) chairperson Chimango Munthali hailed the cup as being in tandem with their goal to find a permanent sponsor for other junior leagues, adding: “Chigoli has set the fire in our belly and make us believe that it is possible to have properly organised Under-12, 14 17 and 20 leagues in the districts.”
The tournaments will be played in small-sided competitions comprising eight players per team to help identify players endowed with technical ability, spatial and tactical knowledge of positioning—abilities which could be stifled on a full pitch.
Prizes such as balls, cones and bibs, will be given to the winners, runners-up and third-placed sides in each of the zonal tournaments which will be played on Chigoli’s core philosophy of “the importance of correct nutrition and education”.