Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) and clubs have agreed to trim the number of teams expected to compete in the 2019 Thumbs Up SRFA League’s Premier Division and Division One to 20 in each section.
In the 2018 season, the Premier Division had 22 teams while Division One had 28, but during a meeting involving the association and the clubs at Mpira Village in Chiwembe, Blantyre on Saturday, it was agreed that trimming the contestants will help improve the league’s management.
When asked on the criterion to be used to get rid of the teams, SRFA vice-general secretary Kingsley Simbeye said the teams’ early registration will do the magic.
“Registration will be done on first-come-first-served basis. We will only deal with the 20 teams that will pay early their registration fees in each division,” he said.
Meanwhile, registration fee per team in the Premier Division has been increased from K180 000 to K200 000 whereas in Division One the fee will be K180 000 from K160 000.
Simbeye said registration of teams will run from February 25 to March 30 and they have set April 6 as tentative date for the league’s kick-off.
The meeting, which was attended by the league’s new sponsors, Rab Group of Companies through their Thumbs Up soft drink brand, also saw the SRFA and the teams agreeing to improve on congestion of fixtures, having more pitches for their games and the sharing of gate revenue, especially between home and visiting sides.
Hangover FC chairperson Francis Nachamba, whose team finished third in the league’s Premier Division last season, said they are satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, which has helped to sort out most of the sticky issues they had with the league runners.
“Most of the problems we faced were a result of the excess number of teams in the league. We are now happy that the league will be run in a proper manner,” he said.
SRFA has just secured K14 million year-long sponsorship from Rab Group of Companies through their Thumbs Up carbonated soft drink brand. The deal has an option of extension to three years depending on the success of the 2019 season.
The news came barely a week after Chitetezo Mbaula manufacturers, United Purpose (UP), did not renew SRFA’s K11 million year-long sponsorship.