Malawi representatives at Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Schools Football Championship (Cosafa Qualifiers) stand a chance of winning K100 million if they emerge champions.
Salima Secondary Schools boys’ football team and Malindi Secondary School girls’ football team are representing Malawi at the competition which kicks off this Saturday in Lilongwe.
They will battle it out against their counterparts from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Seychelles and South Africa.
CAF has announced that the winners of the competition will pocket $100,000 (about K100 million) while runners up will cart home $75,000 (about K75 million).
Third placed team will get $50,000 (about K50 million).
Regional champions qualify for continental level where the champions will get $300 000 (about K300 million); runners up will get $200 000 (about K200 million) and third-placed team will get $150 000 (K150 million).
CAF President Patrice Motsepe sponsors the schools tournament through Motsepe Foundation at $10 million and this year, it has been allocated $4 million.
Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) general secretary Blackson Malamula said the country’s flag carriers are aware of what is at stake.
He said: “We communicated to them what they stand to benefit if they finish even just in the top three.
“The teams stand to win big monies. The prizes cannot match even the local competitions.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Motsepe is set to grace the launch of the competition, becoming the first continental football governing body’s leader to visit the country.
“Schools football is at the heart of the long-term development and growth of African football.”
“One of the best investments that we can make to ensure that African football is amongst the best world, is to invest in schools’ football and football infrastructure for boys and girls at school, amateur and professional level,” said Dr. Motsepe.
The matches are for players aged 12-15 and rather than representing their national teams, the learners play in the colours of their school.
Each team on the pitch will consist of eight players and matches last 40 minutes, two periods of 20 minutes separated by a 10-minute break.
One of the features of the fixtures is that there are unlimited substitutions, meaning coaches can keep rotating the players they have on the pitch.