Carlsberg Malawi Limited has raised the stakes in the Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) Copa Coca-Cola Schools tournament from K4.5 milliom to K7 million this year.

The company’s marketing manager Gwyneth Mchiela made the announcement at Chitakale ground in Mulanje on Saturday during the launch of the tournament for this year.

The ceremony also marked celebrations of 45 years of sponsoring the schools tournament in the country.

Said Mchiela: “Let me say that the increase in sponsorship will bring more competition among the participating schools. I only encourage the players to work hard because football or sports is a vehicle for youth development and empowerment.

“As we are celebrating 45 years of sponsoring the tournament, we are pleased that it has also helped to unearth talent and most of the players are playing in Super League clubs in the country. It is from this fact that we believe that the players have been economically empowered to generate income through sports,” she said.

In his speech, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology (Moest) Chikumbutso Hiwa said despite operating in tough economic times, Carlsberg Malawi Limited has remained committed in promoting football from the grass roots level.

“I would like to encourage other companies in the country to emulate what Carlsberg Malawi is doing, which we do not take for granted. We have so many sporting activities that lack sponsorship. But let me hasten to add that as parents, educators and sports administrators let us remember that it is better to inculcate a culture of sport in our youths at the early stage so that they grow with it,” said Hiwa.

In a dead-rubber match, last year’s Copa Coca-Cola champions Joyce Banda Foundation (JBF) beat Copa Coca-Cola old timers 2-1. The former stars featured notable players such as Blantyre United’s Abraham Kamwendo and Tizgobere Kumwenda, Escom United’s Kondwani Gawani, and others.

Flames caretaker coach Eddingtone Ng’onamo gave motivational talk to the young players and promised to recommend some of them to the Malawi Under-20 national football team for assessment.

At half-time, officials from government as well as MASSA conducted a national draw for the competition which has been scheduled for Mzuzu Stadium from August 2-4 this year.

The fixtures are as follow: Shire Highlands versus South East, South West versus Central East and Central West versus North.

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