The 2017 Presidential Cup for football has been changed and turned into a development programme to be competed for at grassroots level by regions.
Under the new format, the competition, which is an initiative of the former Head of State, the late Bingu wa Mutharika and launched in 2008 in order to develop the beautiful game, will only be competed for by Under-17 League, District champions, capacity development programme, beach soccer and women football.
A statement from Football Association of Malawi (Fam) says the Under-17 League will be a national event to be played in the nine districts that have National Youth Committees, namely Karonga, Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay, Lilongwe. Mchinji, Dedza, Blantyre, Mangochi and Zomba.
“The league is bridging the development leagues between the Fifa/Fam Under-15 and the FMB Under-20 football,” the statement said. “Each district is expected to register at least 10 teams and the teams will play in league format of two rounds.
“The competition will end at district level and expected to be played in eight months between April and October.”
Fam says the District Championship is for all 29 districts to be played on round robbing format in zones and knock out in at district level with the aim of establishing a reliable competitive spirit leading to the formation of a district select to participate in the FISD Challenge Cup.
Each district is expected to register at least 64 teams with each team paying K10,000 as registration fees. The competition is expected to be played between March and June. Registration ends on 19th March.
“The project will continue the Presidential Women Football Cup from the old format which is aimed at continued development of Women Football in the country. The Competition to start from the 15 districts across the country with the district champions joining seeded teams for the regional championship.
“Then the team regional champions will square it in the national championship. The tournament will be played on knockout basis between April and June 2017.”
For the Presidential Capacity Developmental Programme, it will be focusing on organising courses and training for administrators, match officials and coaches at developmental levels.
“Fam is therefore inviting all interested football teams to register and participate in the various Presidential Football competitions which are expected to kick-off on 26th March 2016. All football teams within the borders of Malawi are encouraged to register and participate in this lucrative competition.”
Big Bullets are the last champions to claim honours of the Presidential Cup from the point of view of the top flight TNM Super League football clubs.
The first champions were Mighty Wanderers in 2009, followed by Civo in 2010, Wanderers reclaimed in 2011, their arch rivals clinched it in 2012 with Mafco engraving their name on the trophy in 2013.
There was a break of two years from 2014 due to some logistics and it resurfaced in 2016 — mostly as a cover up after Standard Bank withdrew the prestigious Knock-Out Challenge Cup in February, 2016.
Fam secured a five-year sponsorship deal with Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (FISD) for a tournament that replaced the Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup and that’s why the Presidential Cup becomes developmental.
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