TNM Super League clubs have described the 167 percent increase in prize money for the winners next season from K15 million to K40 million as a motivation for competitive top-flight football in the country.
TNM plc chief executive officer Arnold Mbwana announced during Super League Season Awards at Serendib Hotel in Blantyre on Friday night that they have increased sponsorship from K90 million to K100 million with K40 million going to eventual champions.
Player of the Season prize money has also been upped from K500 000 to K2 million, a 300 percent increase.
The overall sponsorship increase means that the monetary value accessible to clubs will now be around K80 million from over K50 million.
Defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga yesterday described the enhanced package as an answer to their cry for better prizes.
“As one of the clubs in the elite league, we vehemently took Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to task on the need for sponsorship increase and this is a good answer to us because now we cannot ask for more,” he said.
Chigoga believes TNM’s gesture needs to be celebrated considering that it comes amid the unfavourable economic situation in the country due to the effects of Covid-19.
“We understand the difficult times we are living in. Businesses are not doing well. Some companies are unwilling to sponsor football but TNM is always with us and wants to support the clubs’ commercial initiatives. This is very commendable,” he said.
While saying the new package is not good enough considering what the clubs spend to fulfil their fixtures, Karonga United general secretary Ramzy Simwaka said the increase is a welcome development.
“At least now we can start seriously competing for the number one spot. At the end of 30 matches previously, champions were assured of K15 million, which was our budget for at least four games. Now, at least there is something to smile about,” he said.
Mighty Wanderers captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr concurred with Simwaka that the latest development is a step towards professionalising the league.
He said: “As a player, I would say this is a big motivation. The new prize is something that is worth fighting for. Nevertheless, it is my hope that the package will be frequently enhanced in future. Let us hope that such good news will be unfolding.”
When announcing the sponsorship increase, Mbwana said: “Since 2006, TNM has been a friend to football and we continue to live by our ‘Always with You’ slogan.”
“This sponsorship increase reflects our recognition of football’s importance to the nation.”
He explained that the mobile network service providers are also ready to partner with clubs who can be an extension of the company’s business and earn revenue.
Nevertheless, it is not clear if the sponsorship increase includes the improvement of the clubs’ subvention, which has remained K1 million over the past decade.
Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu Manda said the sponsorship increase was the most exciting news that Malawi football had been waiting for.
Somba Banda said: “Thanks to TNM for living up to the word of ‘Always with You’. Over 160 percent increase in the champions prize is a great commitment to the commercialisation of the game as financial stability of the clubs is paramount to the professionalism drive we embarked on.”
“We will encourage clubs to partner with TNM in the dealership business as one way of reciprocating the gesture.”
On his part, Nyamilandu Manda said TNM has responded positively to the call of soccer loving Malawians with such a package increase and they have made Malawi football proud by living up to expectation.
“This is a clear demonstration that TNM is serious about developing football in the country. A true partner of football and a real corporate citizen that has the best interests of football at heart,” he said.