Cosafa U-17 hosting gets Govt nod

Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development says government is ready to host the 2019 Cosafa Under-17 tournament.

Though Malawi has been given a green light to host this year’s youth championship, Cosafa has set conditions for hosting the tournament set for October.

Malawi (in red) taking on South Africa during last year’s tourney

Cosafa will foot 75 percent of the expenses while Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and the government will have to fulfil the other, according to Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda.

“First and foremost, FAM should engage government to get guarantees in terms of support to host the tournament. We also need Malawi government to provide visas upon arrival for countries that will need visas and the visa fees have to be waived. This will require Government support.

“We also need the government’s support in terms of medical provisions. There has to be fully-fledged ambulances with defibrillator at all matches as well as a public hospital available within the radius of 20 kilometres from the match venues. These hospitals should have doctors who are specialised in injuries associated with football,” he said

Nyirenda further said government will also have to offer tax exemptions on sports equipment to be brought by participating teams and Cosafa delegation.

FAM on the other hand, will have to ensure there is a conducive environment for the participating teams.

“We know that most of the facilities in Malawi, especially the stadiums, are in the hands of the government and we need them to avail the stadia for the use during the tournament. Government and FAM will also have to provide security services.

 “Cosafa will meet all accommodation and local running expenses for the 14 participating teams at the hotels to be chosen with the assistance of FAM. But we expect FAM to help us pay subsidised prices at the hotels,” he said.

Nyirenda said the requirements are fair considering that Cosafa will foot accommodation bills for all teams and officials.

“Cosafa will also provide training courses to local personnel in coaching refereeing, administration and training to volunteers and ball boys. Cosafa will also train the media personnel and a few young ambitious individuals will be used as interns for TV production whether through SuperSport or Kwese, who are partners of Cosafa and will beam these games across the continent.

“This will be a great opportunity for FAM, sponsors and others who would like to partner us to be exposed to far reaching areas. FAM will also be responsible for tickets production and all gate proceeds will go to FAM. That is how the win-win situation works and Cosafa will make sure that FAM is not in debt after the tournament,” he said

The ministry’s director of sports Jameson Ndalama said Malawi has the capacity to host the event and that government is ready to meet the conditions set by Cosafa.

“We have the capacity to host such a tournament. We have the facilities such as stadiums which will be used for the tournament. Most of those conditions set are what we normally do when we are hosting events, so it’s not a big deal. We will engage other ministries on issues like  visas and waiving of tax on sports equipment,” he said.

However, Ndalama said they would wait for FAM to officially present its proposal on the hosting of the event.

 “As of now, FAM has not officially informed us on the development. We just heard about it from the grapevine,” he said.

FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the association’s executive will discuss the hosting of the tournament at its next executive committee meeting.

“This is a great opportunity for the development process that FAM is undertaking in youth football and indeed an opportunity for the Malawian football family to see and support the future of Malawi football in a regional competition on home soil,” he said.

Dates for the tournament have not yet been set but Nyirenda said they youth championship will be held in October.

“We are finalising dates, but it might take place in October so as to give FAM ample time to prepare,” he said.

Malawi won the Under-17 Cosafa Cup in 2001 after beating South Africa 3-0 when the country last hosted a regional tournament.

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