Malawi’s FISD Challenge kicks off Sept. 30 with regional qualifiers

The 2017 FISD Challenge, organised by Football Association of Malawi (FAM), will kick off on September 30 starting with regional qualifiers while the 16 teams from the top flight Super League will join the fray with a preliminary round on October 7, 8, 14 and15.

Fam President Walter Nyamilandu sharing jokes with Fisd Managing Director Frank Mwenechanya…Photo Jeromy Kadewere

A FISD branded chopper lands with the cup – Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times

The draw for the preliminary for both the regional phase and the Super League teams shall be conducted on Tuesday, September 27 while the national one shall be done on October 10.

The regional champions shall be concluded by October 15 ready for the national round of 16 matches that shall be played on October 17 and 25.

The quarterfinals shall be played on November 4 and 5 with the semis slated for November 18 and 19 while the final match shall be played on December 2.

According to a  statement from FAM, 2017 FISD Challenge Cup — sponsored by Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development on a five-year deal, will be participated by a total of 57 teams comprising the 16 Super League, 12 Premier Division teams (top four teams in the three regional leagues) and 29 district teams who won the 2017 Presidential Cup district championship.

The districts teams will play in a regional championship in their respective regions to come up with five teams — two each from the South and Centre and one from the North — that will qualify for the national phase.

The regional league teams will play in a regional championship in their respective regions to come up with three teams while the 16 TNM Super League teams will be drawn against each other with the top four teams from last season seeded.

This phase will produce eight teams that will qualify for the national phase.

The statement added that the districts and regional leagues will register with the Regional Football Association in their respective regions by filling a form and paying a registration fee of K20,000 while the Super League teams will register directly with the FAM secretariat by filling a form and paying a registration fee of K75,000.

“Registration for both categories will run from 21st September and close on 26th September 2017,” the statement said.

On player eligibility, each Super League team will use players registered with the Super League of Malawi and will use Sulom registration cards for identification while regional league teams will use players registered with the Regional Football Association and will use their respective leagues’ registration cards for identification.

The district champions will use players it registered during the Presidential Cup but will also be at liberty to beef up with any other players based in their respective districts who play for other teams in other leagues, but not Super League.

“FAM will produce special registration cards for the 29 teams [and] no player shall be allowed to register with two teams as per Rules and Regulations of FISD Challenge Cup.”

The first champions of the FISD Challenge are Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, who beat Silver Strikers in the final. Ironically, Silver Strikers became the first champions of the newly launched Airtel Top 8 Cup after beating Wanderers in the final.

The FISD Challenge replaced the Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup. Early last year, Standard Bank pulled out their sponsorship of the Knock-out Cup, that was competed for by just top eight TNM Super League teams.

FISD came into football when they sponsored Wizards, formerly known as Surestream.

Soon after suffering the setback at the sponsorship withdrawal by Standard Bank FISD came to the rescue of FAM with an initial sponsorship package of K40 million for 2016.

Standard Bank had been sponsoring the Knock-Out Cup since 2007. It was played at the end of the TNM Super League season in which the six top teams in the Super League qualified for the event and two were voted in by the bank’s clients.

The Knock-Out Cup started as Fam Cup in mid 2000 at a time when the corporate world decided to abandon football in Malawi following a surge in violence at venues.

Several companies, including Standard Bank, were part of the plan to resurrect football sponsorship through the Fam Cup until Standard Bank decided to go solo and renamed it the Knock-Out.

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