The Castel Challenge Cup Round of 64 kicks off this afternoon with some mouth-watering fixtures lined up across the country from October 4 to 25.
Lilongwe-based TNM Super League outfit Blue Eagles will set off the tone for the round of 64 today with a fixture against lower league side Layman Panthers at Civo Stadium.
Eagles coach Eliah Kananji in pre-match interview said they will not underrate the lower league side.
“Cup games are tricky especially when you are facing unknown lower league sides. They come with a purpose. They are obviously out to make a name for themselves by beating a TNM Super League team.
“I have told my boys to be very careful and not to underrate them. Otherwise, they can suprise us. We can’t afford to be knocked out of the cup at this stage.”
Layman coach Atanazius Jabulani said they learned a lesson from their 6-0 embarrassing loss to another Super League side Civil Service United in FDH Bank Cup and will not allow a repeat of the tragedy.
“We learnt a bitter lesson. We will not allow that to happen again when we play Blue Eagles. We have told the boys that this is their opportunity to market themselves,” he said.
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers will follow next on Thursday as they also host another lower league side Katete Rangers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Two more games will be played on Friday in the Central and Northern regions.
In Central Region, Chipiku League outfit Mitundu Strikers will host Chikuni FC of Lilongwe Rural at Nankhaka.
In the Northern Region, Eleven Champions of Nkhata Bay will hosts Super League outfit Chitipa United at Rumphi Stadium.
There will be nine games on October 7 across the country.
In the Southern Region, Mighty Wakawaka Tigers will host Ma Proffe from Balaka at Mpira Stadium.
Bocca Juniors will host Zomba Champions at Balaka Stadium in an early kick off before Siyahamba Nselema of Machinga take on Blantyre Urban Champion later in the afternoon.
In Central Region, Gunners FC of Lilongwe Urban will take on Chipiku League’s St Gabriel Medicals Zitha at Civo Stadium in an early kick off.
The two will later pave the way for Super League giants Civil Service United and Mgwirizano of Salima.
Nkhangazaona FC of Mchinji and Chisomo Academy will clash at Aubrey Dimba Stadium in Mchinji while Ntcheu Young Soccer of will host Kansonga United from Ntchisi at Dedza Stadium.
Rumphi Stadium will host two matches as Mwazisi from Rumphi host Simso League outfit Raiply in an early kick off before Ekwendeni United take on Super League outfit Karonga United later in the afternoon.
The round of 64 action will resume on October 8 with four more matches lined up.
Mapira Stars from Mangochi will host Red Lions at Balaka Stadium while Zingwangwa United and Fomo will clash at Mpira Stadium in the S0outhern Region.
In the Central Region, Welfare FC of Nkhotakota will take on Super League side Extreme FC at Chitowe.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Region, Kadona Stars of Nkhata Bay and Super League side Ekwendeni Hammers will sort each other out at Rumphi Stadium while Red Devils of Likoma Island will take on Mzalangwe from Mzimba at Nkondezi.
Luviri FC will have to wait for the winner between Nkhuyu Cobras and Hope FC of Karonga who face off on October 8.
There will be two matches on October 11.
Dedza Stadium will host a derby between Dedza Dynamos Salima Sugar and Saint Louis High School in a fixture that promises fireworks.
Super League outfit Bangwe All Stars will take on Nsuwadzi from Mulanje at Mpira Stadium.
The action will resume four days later with five fixtures.
Makanga Rangers of Chikwawa will take on Umodzi FC from Nsanje at a venue to be confirmed.
Zathu Rangers from Neno will face the winner between White Eagles and MDF Marine who clash this afternoon in the last Southern Region play off at Mpira Stadium.
Phalombe Champion will take on Soccer Rangers at Mulanje Stadium.
Ergo FC of Kasungu will take on Dowa Hammers at Kasungu Stadium while Iponga FC from Karonga will host Zolozolo Rangers from Mzuzu at Karonga Stadium.
The following day, Gande FC of Chiradzulu will host Nsulupi Gunners from Thyolo at Mpira Stadium.
Salima-based TNM Super League outfit Mafco will take on Mtengenji Monaco at Chitowe on October 18.
The round of 64 will wrap up on October 25 as FCB Nyasa Bullets take on Lipulumundu Stars at Kamuzu Stadium while Moyale Barracks will face Mafana Mafana from Chitipa at Rumphi Stadium.
The Castel Challenge Cup is a National Knockout Cup organised by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
It is sponsored by Castel Malawi to the tune of K320 million.
The 2023 Edition will be played for six months between July and December 2023.
The national champions will pocket K50 million— the highest prize money in domestic football— with the runners-up getting half the amount.
Semi-finalists will receive K10 million each whereas the four quarterfinalists will get K5 million each.
In addition, the district champions will pocket K750,000 each whereas 17 teams that will qualify from the regional level will get K1 million each.
Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot award winner will each get K500,000.