The Fisd Challenge Cup was launched in style on Saturday in Nchalo.
The launch started with a trophy parade from Blantyre to Nchalo in a shuttle and there was a carnival atmodphere at Nchalo Trading centre.
Music icon Lucius Banda and his Zembani Banda set the ball rolling with a live music show on the eve of the launch.
The launch reached the climax at Kalulu Stadium with a launch game between Chikwa Presidential Cup champions Dululu FC faced their Mwanza counterparts Mwanza Madrid which was graced by Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa
In his remarks, Mussa has urged companies to emulate Fisd by uplifting football standards from district level.
Mussa said this on Saturday at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa during the launch of Fisd Challenge Cup.
“We need more companies to come in and help government in uplifting football standards from the district level and help the youth have something to do,” said Mussa, who was the guest of honour at the launch.
“Moreover, soccer should be taken as real business and not as business-as-usual. Athletes should be able to benefit financially.”
Fisd executive director Moses Chirambo said they introduced the competition as a way of developing talent for both elite clubs and the national team while sensitising the communities on how they can avert hunger problems through technologies such as solar irrigation farming.
“We came with this initiative because we realised there is a big correlation between football and food. Therefore, as we contribute to football development, we as well want to help communities how to fight hunger,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) vice-president James Mwenda, who was accompanied by second vice-president Othaniel Hara, said they are hopeful that the annual K45 million Fisd Cup will help identify more talent from the rural areas.
During the launch match, Dululu FC beat Mwanza Madrid 2-0 through first-half strikes by Manja Chidatha Roudon James to progress to the Southern Region quarter-final stage.
Regional champions will receive K1 million while runners-up and third placed teams will get K500 000 and K250 000, respectively. Each of the district teams obtained K100 000 starter-packs. At national level, champions will take home K10 million.
About 29 district teams that won the Presidential Cup at district level are competing at regional level to identify the best eight teams that will join TNM Super League top-eight for the national finals in December.