The K1 billion Castel Cup is expected to gather momentum following round of 64 and 32 draws at Mpira Village in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre on Wednesday.
In the round of 64, the 16 TNM Super League teams have been drawn alongside 17 regional league sides and 31 teams that emerged champions at district level.
The rounds will be played in a regional play-off format with district champions and regional league teams joining Super League clubs in their respective regions for knockout matches to identify representatives for the round of 16.
Super League champions FCB Nyasa Bullets have been drawn against non-leaguers Lipulumundu Stars of Balaka in the Southern Region play-offs while Airtel Top 8 champions Mighty Mukuru Wanderers will face yet-to-be-identified Blantyre Rural champions.
Mighty Waka Waka Tigers will be up against Maprofe FC as Bangwe All Stars entertain Swazi FC while Red Lions will face Mapira Stars.
In the Centre, Civil Service United will be up against Mgwirizano FC, Dedza Dynamos Salima Sugar will face St Louis High School, Mafco FC will play against Mtengenji Monaco while Extreme will take on Welfare FC.
Silver Strikers and Kamuzu Barracks have been seeded to play in the next round of the Central Region play-offs for being the region’s best two teams in the Super League at the time of the draw.
In the North, Chitipa United will face Nkhata Bay’s Eleven Champions while Karonga United will travel to Ekwendeni United. Moyale Barracks will face Mafanamafana FC whereas Ekwendeni Hammers will entertain Kadona Stars.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) first vice-president Jabber Alide has since warned top-flight league teams against undermining regional and non-league sides,saying there are no favourites in the tournament considering the level of competition that characterised the district phase.
“It is for this reason that I warn Super League teams not to undermine district and regional teams. We expect a lot of big upsets,” he said.
Castel Malawi head of corporate marketing and communication Lavern Chitakata said so far, they are happy with the level of competition and they expect more fireworks in the next fixtures.
“We have watched very exciting football during the district encounters in areas such as Machinga and Nsanje. As the going gets tougher, we expect more exciting games,” she said.
FAM competitions director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the round of 64 games will start early October.
Below is the full draw