Castel says the long term expectation from its Challenge Cup is to contribute to a strong national team by unearthing talent from the grassroots.
Castel Malawi Head of Marketing Frank Binauli outlined the goal in Rumphi during the official kick-off of Northern region fixtures.
He urged football stakeholders to capitalise on the cup to build a strong base for the Flames.
“As a proud sponsor of this biggest cup in Malawi we expect to harness local talent from the grassroots which is a catalyst of building a great national team. Local teams have talent that if blended well could transform Malawi’s football,” said Binauli.
He expressed satisfaction with the kick-off that involved district and regional rookies who have started battling out for the K320 million.
“Today we have manifested a glimpse of what we want to achieve with the Ibongetse challenge cup. We are happy to witness beautiful football and nice officiation at a district level we will ensure sustainability of the trend,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Vice President Jabbar Alide commended the bottom-up approach which will intensify competitiveness from the district level.
“Castel journey has started and we are very happy with the setup which is local like here at Rumphi. We have seen the level of competitiveness, the level of dedication from the teams therefore, as FAM we are very optimistic it is going to achieve football development,” said Alide.
According to the vice president, the football association will continue supporting the Ibongetse Challenge Cup to enhance competitive levels.
“Football is changing very fast and we hope that the incentives in the competition will spar teams to push forward. Castel has put a big stake in this competition and with the level of talent we have seen today, these teams are capable of beating anyone,” added the Vice President.
Alide said that Castel Challenge Cup will be full of surprises that will excite the game of football.
“I would like to warn teams that feel they would sustain dominance that Castel Challenge Cup is coming with a difference and they must be prepared for that,” he said.
Representing Regional Associations, Raphael Humba said the associations are geared to ensure smooth running of the Castel Challenge Cup.
“All reginal associations are very excited with the kick-off of the Ibongetse challenge cup. We have been empowered to navigate the running of the cup and we hope to see regional teams soaring high in the challenge,” said Humba.
He highlighted shortage venues as a major challenge that could affect the taste effectiveness of the cup.
“Venue is the most challenging issue in as far as football is concerned here in Malawi. Almost every district is affected but we have put measures in place to address that for the cup,” he said.
During official kick-off games Rumphi district rivals Vongo FC and Thaboland FC battled it up where Thaboland emerged a winner by a goal to nil.
At the regional level, Rumphi-based Chipolopolo defeated Songwe Border FC 4-1 in post-match penalties after their game ended 1-1.