In a clear demonstration of moving local football forward, Standard Bank (Malawi) on Saturday hiked the sponsorship package for its knockout cup to K20 million from K15 million (about $60 000), a development that will see the winning team cashing a K7 million (about $28 000) chequeâ€”it certainly does not get any better.
Â This represents a 33 percent rise.
The good news was announced by the bankâ€™s director of personal and business banking Paul Omara at its head office in the capital, Lilongwe.
That is not all. The financial institution has pledged to sponsor the two best journalists from both the electronic and print media to cover the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations showcase in South Africa which the bank also co-sponsors.
Omara said Standard Bank is not only big football fan in Malawi but also across the continent.
“As a leading financial service provider, we are moving football forward.
“You may ask why do we sponsor football? Football unites all nations and the world at large. Football has been used to bring people together,” said Omara.
He also said Standard Bank has chosen to remain relevant towards football development by not only renewing the sponsorship but also increasing the sponsorship package.
“It is a demonstration of our commitment to football development in Malawi. It also shows the confidence and trust we have in the local FA (FAM),” said Omara.
He also said it is Standard Bankâ€™s wish that the national team should scale dizzy heights.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu described the upshot as a blessing to Malawi football.
“Standard Bank has not only renewed the marriage but it has also increased sponsorship despite the hard economic times.
“If this sponsorship were not renewed, we would have had nowhere to go. The sponsorship will help us implement the agenda of developing football.
“So, I would like to hail directors and management of Standard Bank. Who would not say Standard Bank is a caring bank?” said Nyamilandu.
He also described the 33 percent increase against a 49 percent devaluation as reasonable.
Principal secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Alex Mseka, who was the guest of honour, also hailed the bank for the continued sponsorship.
“The competition has tremendously improved football standards and I would like to urge other companies to emulate Standard Bank,” said Mseka.
He also said Standard Bank is indeed a government partner.
“May I also take this opportunity to ask those that do not have accounts with Standard Bank to do so now,” he said.
The competitionâ€™s chairperson Jabber Alide announced that the losing finalists will get K3.5 million (about $14 000) while the losing semi-finalists will receive K500 000 each. The losing quarterfinalists will not be left out in the cold, they will get K250 000 (about $1 000) each.
Among other officials who attended the ceremony were Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Innocent Bottomani and national football coach Kinnah Phiri.
The announcement was followed by a luncheon and a colourful launch of the tournament that included a match between defending champions Blue Eagles and Silver Strikers at Silver Stadium.
The colourful fanfare saw the cup being paraded in the city before being flown to the to the stadium in Area 47 in a helicopter.