By Antony Isaiah Jr:….
………Sponsors dresses the participating teams
All is set for the Kick off of the Airtel Top 8 Cup as the Airtel Malawi has on Thursday afternoon unveiled and presented the kits for the Fifth Edition of the tournament in Blantyre.
The 2022 Airtel Top 8 Cup dubbed “zamadolo izi” will roll out this weekend with a grudge match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Karonga United at Kamuzu Stadium.
Other teams completing the set are Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, Mafco Football Club, Blue Eagles Football Club, Silver Strikers, Kamuzu Barracks and Dedza Dynamos.
According to FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakakaza, the competition will be played on a knockout basis.
“From the first round of the competition which is the quarterfinals, the cup will be played on a knockout basis on home and away basis where away goals and goal aggregate rules shall apply to decide who goes to the next round while the semifinals will be played on a knockout basis but in single fixtures.
“In the first round, teams that finished in the top four of the 2022 TNM Super League first round log table will be home teams with the others playing at home in the second leg,” he said.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu commended the company for having the idea of uplifting Football standards in the country.
The boss has however, begged the fans to maintain the behaviour that they showed last season to keep hold of the sponsors.
“So far, the fans have been amazing in terms of behaviour. No any cases of violence or misconduct, that’s why the sponsors are coming back and I would like that this behaviour must continue. Its been a uccessive year and
“Let’s take care of the sponsors, let’s not let down the sponsors, let’s not let down our clubs, let’s not let down ourselves and be overtaken by our emotions. There will always be one winner, losers and if we lose, let’s accept and we are hopeful that this will make the tournament will be exceptional” said Nyamilandu.
Airtel Top is expected to end in the mid-December and the Association boss said the tournament will help to keep the players in shape as The Malawi National Team is expected to face Egypt back-to-back earlier next year.
“We are in Afcon Qualifiers and we are playing early next year and this tournament will help us to keep our players fit,” added Nyamilandu.
On his part, Charles Kamoto said as Airtel, they are excited with the way last season was and they expect the 2022 Airtel Top 8 Cup to be more competitive.
“From Airtel, we are very excited. Last year when we were going into the fourth adition, we came with more things and we launched it with a theme “zamadolo” meaning that it is more competitive. We are looking forward to the excitement of the fans, and we want the champions of last year to be challenged,” said Kamoto.
Nyasa Big Bullets beat Silver Strikers last season to win it for the first time.
Airtel Top 8 Cup was established in 2017 and the Company says the competition is helping to uplift the standards of football in Malawi.
According to the 2022 TNM Super League first round log table, Nyasa Big Bullets will face Karonga United in quarterfinal one with Blue Eagles facing Dedza Dynamos in the quarterfinal two.
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers will meet Salima based Soldiers Mafco in the third quarterfinal and the last quarterfinal will involve Silver Strikers and Kamuzu Barracks.
In the Semifinals, the winner between Nyasa Big Bullets and Karonga United will host the winner between Silver Strikers and Kamuzu Barracks in semifinal one while the winner between Blue Eagles and Dedza Dynamos will meet the winner between Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Mafco in semifinal two.
The Airtel Top 8 champion will go away with K17 Million with the Runner-up going home with K6 Million while all participating teams will get K1 Million.
On individual awards, the Top Goal Scorer and player of the tournament will pocket K500,000 each and the Man of the Match for each game will get K50,000.
The final match for this year’s Airtel Top will take place on December 17th.