Labour Commissioner in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Hlalerwayo Nyangulu said this on Thursday during the prize presentation ceremony of Season 2 of Airtel Top 8 competition at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.
He said it was pleasing to note that Airtel Malawi partnered with Football Association Malawi (FAM) to organize the football competition which has contributed significantly to the development of the game of football and it is quite commendable.
Nyangulu pointed out that government would like to encourage other national sports organizations to find corporate sponsorship in the development of other sports disciplines.
He said corporate partners have products that need to be showcased to customers who are supporters and they can easily advertise and sell their products to soccer fans.
“The sports sector provides a good avenue for this since it is patronized by a cross section of society. A lot of people like to participate in sports programmes. Sports create an environment where the corporate world can meet customers while they are enjoying sports programmes through such sponsorship,” he observed.
Nyangulu added that Airtel Top 8 competition is with no doubt contributing a great deal to the development of football in the country.
He said while companies and organisations are coming forward to partner with the Ministry in sports development, few individuals who do not understand the spirit of losing and winning tend to resort to acts of violence.
“We will like to condemn this behaviour in its strongest terms. We warn such individuals that if found they will be given stiffer penalties and punishment. Police should treat such people like any other individual who commits crimes in non sporting events,” he stated.
Managing Director of Airtel Malawi, Charles Kamoto said his organization was impressed with the standards of play although he bemoaned lack of goals.
He promised the soccer fraternity that the competition would return next year with more good things and it would be “#koma muchinya”.
FAM President, Walter Nyamilandu hailed Airtel management for upholding its commitment to continue sponsoring the tournament despite the violence that marred the finals between Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles
He said the spirit shown by Airtel has demonstrated that they have fatherly care of forgiving easily and they have good will for the soccer fraternity in the country.
“If it were some companies they could have the right to withdraw their sponsorship like what happened years back. It was sad to see that educated people were in forefront of perpetuating violence. At first I thought hooligans were only uneducated people but they proved me wrong,” Nyamilandu charged.
During the function saw, Be Forward Wanderers veteran midfielder, Joseph Kamwendo was top goal scorer with two goals and went away with K500,000.00, Blue Eagles goalkeeper, John Soko was named player of the tournament and pocketed K500,000 while Kelvin Mtonga from Mzuzu was named 2018 Airtel Top 8 top fan and cashed k1 million.
2018 Airtel Top 8 winners Blue Eagles were present with a trophy and K15 million cash while runners up, Nyasa Big Bullets got K5 million.
Media awards went to the following; best print journalist was Clement Chinoko of the Nation Newspaper, best radio journalist Frank Kandu of MBC, best TV journalist Lucy Kadzongwe of Rainbow TV and best online journalist was Mabvuto Kambuwe of Times Group and best photographer Emmanuel Simpokolwe of Times group and they all received K200,000.00 cash.