Africa-Press – Malawi. Confederation of African Football (Caf) President Patrice Motsepe is set to give out K100 million to winners of Cosafa’s qualifying tournament of the African Schools Football Championship.
The amount beats, by far, what the country’s big clubs earn from top local competitions, K40 million being the biggest. The runners-up and third-placed teams will also win big, with K75 million and K50 million earmarked for them, respectively.
The regional champions will book themselves a ticket to the continental stage where the winners will pocket about K300 million. Runners-up will get K200 million while the third-placed team will return home K150 million richer.
Motsepe is expected to grace the event, which kicks off Saturday at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe and ends on Monday. This will make him the first Caf president to visit the country.
Malawi’s representatives in the regional qualifiers are Salima Secondary School and Malindi Girls Secondary School of Zomba District. Motsepe bankrolls the developmental tournament through his Motsepe Foundation.
To stand any chance of laying a claim to the millions, Malawi’s representatives will have to defeat their opponents from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Seychelles and South Africa.
Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) President Blackson Malamula said Salima and Malindi officials are aware of what is at stake in the tournament.
“We told them what they stand to benefit if they finish in any position within the top three. They will surely win big monies. The prizes are way more than what our big teams get from top local competitions,” Malamula said. Motsepe said schools football is at the heart of African football’s long-term development and growth.
“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,” he said.
The tournament is for players aged between 12 and 15 and, rather than representing their national teams, the learners play in the colours of their school.
The teams will have eight players in their starting line-ups, with matches lasting two halves of 20 minutes each separated by a 10-minute break. Substitutions will be unlimited, giving coaches the chance to keep rotating their players on the pitch.