Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture Francis Phiso on Monday brought MK10 million cash at Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Mpira Village at Chiwembe in Limbe and presented MK5 million each to Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Be Forward Wanderers as an honour to the pledge President Arthur Peter Mutharika made on July 6 during the Independence Day celebrations at Kamuzu Stadium.
President Mutharika greets Wanderers players .-Photo by Abel Ikiloni, Mana Phiso flanked by Chigoga (on his left) and Mkandawire holding their cash Phiso also met and inspired the women's national football team which in camp at the Mpira Village
The two teams were part of the entertainment package of the Independence Day celebration and they were give MK4 million each as participation fee but at half time, after been impressed with their performance on the pitch, President Mutharika made the pledge to add on MK5 million each.
Phiso said President Mutharika was very pleased that the two teams gave maximum entertainment for the gathering on that day and this upshot is his way of saying his thanks for accepting to be part of the celebration.
"The President says he was very happy and proud that people enjoyed the game, which was played in a very competitive spirit," said Phiso, who was accompanied by Director of Sports Jameson Ndalama, acting Executive Secretary of Malawi National Council of Sports Henry Mereka, Director of Football in the Ministry Kinnah Phiri and FAM executive member Tiya Somba Banda.
In his vote of thanks, Wanderers' chairman Gift Mkandawire said they were overwhelmed by this gift, saying it will go a long way to assist them in rewarding their players in their next fixtures in the TNM Super League.
"When we play against each other we always give our best in a very competitive spirit because we never want the other to be outdone," he said.
"At the same time, playing on such a day with the President watching is also a moment of glory and definitely we had to give out the best performance.
"We are proud that we managed to impress the fans as well as the President, who saw it fit to reward us even after we still received our participation fees."
He then asked the Minister to consider that Malawian clubs be funded for their participation of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), saying the clubs alone do find it difficult to fund themselves and that is why their participation is erratic.
"It is important that our players should get more international exposure for the benefit of the national team. It is only at national team level that they get international exposure.
"We would have loved that we should be participating in the CAF club championships every year but as you are aware the budget for such participation is very huge.
"Our colleagues, Nyasa Big Bullets will participate in this year's CAF championship and they will carry the Malawi flag and make us all proud. This participation is also a huge plus to Malawian football because this is where players are spotted and taken in by foreign teams."
On his part, chairman of Nyasa Big Bullets, Albert Chigoga applauded the Wanderers chairman for bringing in the subject of the CAF championship, saying its importance cannot be overemphasized.
"Participation in the TNM Super League alone needs a huge budget and by the time we are through with it we would have gathered huge debts that stops us from thinking of registering for the CAF club championships.
"We humbly request if we can be assisted in some way as flag carriers. This year it is us and Masters Security who are geared to participate and we wouldn't want to disappoint the nation," he said.
Representing the FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, Somba Banda also emphasized on the suggestion that government should put deliberate policy of helping clubs in international participation.
He gave an example of Masters Security who, in their debut appearance in the top flight Super League, also registered and participated in the CAF championship from which the results were seen as they performed beyond expectations back home.
"Their players became stars and helped the team even grab the Carlsberg Cup, showing that the international exposure helped them a lot.
"We now have several foreign players in our league, all thanks to the visibility which our clubs have had in their participation of the CAF club championships," Somba Banda said.
Phiso assured the two teams that their concerns have been taken note of and that they shall be channeled to the President to see the best way forward.
He also assured them that the pledge that President Mutharika made that he shall build stadia for the two teams still stands and asked the teams to prepare their plans so that they can also map the way forward.