FDH Bank sponsors K5m towards Golf Union of Malawi Matchplay Championships

FDH Bank — in its zeal to develop sports in the country, has sponsored the annual Malawi Matchplay Championship whose finals will be played on June 23-25 at Country Club Limbe (CCL) and Blantyre Sports Club BSC.

At the cheque presentation on Monday at FDH Holdings Head Office in Blantyre, Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM) president, Gift Chidya Gondwe said qualifiers for the finals will be held on Saturday, June 18 at five golf clubs — Kasasa in Dwangwa, Nchalo in Chikwawa, Lilongwe for the Capital City, CCL and BSC — which will identify 80 finalists.

Nkunika and PR Manager Lorraine Chikhula (right) presents the support to GUoM’s Chidya Gondwe and honorary secretary, Ulemu Lisa Luhanga

The 80 will be 16 each for Championship Division; Division A; Division B; ladies; juniors — as an important all-inclusive tournament that is also used to rank the best players for consideration into the national golf team.

Chidya Gondwe said golfers are at liberty to choose any of the golf courses that have been earmarked for the Strokeplay qualifiers.

He applauded FDH Bank for partnering with GUoM as they have always done in the past, saying “FDH Bank is bringing golfer closer to people and providing a solid platform for its development.

“In these difficult economic times, it is an honour indeed that FDH Bank accepted to sponsor the all-important Malawi Matchplay Championship which golfers look out for because it is used to rank them,” he said.

“This is a great day for GUoM because we have managed to secure financial support because we relied on government sponsorship when we hosted the Regional 5 Amateur Golf Challenge at Lilongwe Golf Club last month.

“It’s an honour to find such partnership because sponsors are hard to come by since most companies had been affected by the CoVID-19. What FDH Bank will go a long way to grow the brand of golf in the country since GUoM wants to build a solid foundation by focusing on ladies and juniors divisions.”

He thus appealed to members of public to send their children to various clubs where GUoM has coaches who conduct training clinics for free, saying there are many opportunities for them such as being considered to represent Malawi at international tournaments.

“Many people have the belief that golf is an elite sport, but it is not,” he said. “At GUoM we have made it possible that it should be accessible to everyone with support from various partners such as FDH Bank.”

On his part, Head of Marketing, Levie Nkunika said they appreciated GUoM’s efforts to develop the sport from the grassroots, saying: “As a homegrown Bank, we are futuristic to help build a solid platform for all categories so as to promote its popularity.

“The Golf Union plays an important role in managing the sport and it is also up to us to partner with it because it also gives us an opportunity to interact with customers to appreciate what other needs they require for us to Service them better.

“They are many FDH Bank customers who play golf and the tournament goes beyond providing a platform to showcase their prowess because it is also for keeping healthy through physical exercises.

“And above all, the Matchplay Championship will assist the Golf Union to identify talented players to represent the country at international level, which is the desire of every sportsperson,” he said.

During the Regional 5 Amateur Golf Challenge held at Lilongwe Golf Club, Team Malawi finished 4th a feat with Chidya Gondwe praised for, saying the squad had good representation and also cherished the lessons drawn from hosting the championship.

South Africa emerged champions of the competition that ran from May 16-20 after amassing a gross score of 691 in four rounds while Zimbabwe were runners-up a gross score of 754 followed by Zambia on position three with 758.

Malawi scored 764 for 4th; Namibia had 771 on 5th while Eswatini attained position six with 810.

The competition’s categories were singles stroke play, foursome strokeplay and better-ball strokeplay.

Chidya Gondwe said South Africa dominates such regional tournaments because they participate in many international tournament which earns them excellent exposure.

“We learnt so much from our counterparts,” he told the media after the tournament. “It will be a benchmark going into other tournaments and towards development of golf in the country.

“Our players had psychological pressure as hosts but they didn’t struggle, rather our counterparts were better skilled, we needed to prepare better, with good backing staff and equipment.

“This should be the last time to finish 4th as we target to win it for to secure a better position such finishing as runners up,” he said.

Team Malawi comprised Forindo Rodrick (captain), Peter Lumbe, Victor Khamalatha and Chrispin Kadzera and Rodrick, who had hoped for better results, said he had learnt some new techniques and also made a plea for better equipment to match those of their international colleagues.

Golf in the African is divided in regions which are North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, wider East Africa Community and SADC member countries (Regional 5).

The annual event was established in 2000 and South Africa has dominated throughout apart from two shocks that came from Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Meanwhile, African Golf Federation president, Johnson Omolo expressed his gratitude to Malawi Government, other partners and their global governing body, Royal and Ancient for supporting the event.

“This event is held to promote golf development in Africa,” he said. “We can only develop golf by clustering the regions to ensure the economies of scale can be enjoyed by members of the federation in terms transport, mobilisation and organisation.—Additional reporting by Twimepoki Mangani, MANA

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