Business came to a halt at Mchinji boma on Saturday as all roads led to Bua Community Ground, where First Merchant Bank (FMB) in conjunction with National Youth Football Association (NYFA) officially launched this year’s K20 million FMB Under 20 Football League.
The launch was marked by a number of activities including a trophy parade from the main trading centre to Bua Community Ground, where thousands of fans gathered to witness the momentous occasion.
Apart from other activities, the fans were entertained to an exciting match involving Mchinji Under 20 Select and Lilongwe Under 20 Select. The youngsters from the capital city and border district displayed some excellent skills much to the delight of Youth and Sports Minister Grace Obama Chiumia, who was guest of honour at the launch.
The two select sides played out a one-all draw after the hosts had cancelled out the visitors second half lead.
The under 20 match was curtain-raised by a social football match involving FMB and Central Region Socials- a side comprising central region based soccer administrators and sports journalists. Central Region Socials defeated the sponsors 3-2, courtesy of a strike from James Mwenda and a brace from Thokozani Chimbali.
As a sign of FMB’s commitment to bankroll this year’s competition to the tune of K20 million, the bank’s head of marketing Sylvia Mataka presented the glittering trophy and a K20 million dummy to the Sports Minister.
The Minister hailed FMB for targeting the youth- who are the nursery for the national teams.
“As Ministry of Sports, our main goal is to go down to the grassroots and unearth talent that should benefit the national teams. I am pleased that FMB is doing just that and I appeal to other banks and companies to emulate this good example,” said Chiumia.
NYFC general secretary Thoko Chimbali and Football Association of Malawi (Fam) executive member James Mwenda hailed FMB for increasing the sponsorship from K10 million to K20 million and adding three more districts including Mchinji on the list of beneficiaries for the sponsorship.
Mwenda disclosed that Fam had set aside a total of K5.6 million to assist in the administration of the trophy apart from presenting 50 balls to NYFA to be used in the tournament.
Taking her turn, Mataka said the bank was proud to be associated with soccer from the grass-root level: “We opted to sponsor the Under 20 league to ensure there is a strong nursery for the national team as well as the Super League teams that feed to the Flames. If there is no strong nursery, we cannot expect good results at the top level,” said Mataka.
The FMB head of marketing disclosed that the double increament from K10 million to K20 million was synonymous with the bank’s clocking of 20 years of existence in Malawi.
“We did not just arrive at the figure of K20 million. This year FMB is clocking 20 years of existence in Malawi. Twenty years ago, FMB started operating in Malawi with one service point in Delamere house, Blantyre but now we have not less than 29 agencies countrywide,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :