The yearly sports competition in the northern region of Malawi has evolved into a tradition and is looked forward to by many people. Sport is welcomed as a diversion for all people in the villages, for the younger ones to participate in a team and for others to watch the matches and support the players.
Men play in the football competition and the women have a competition in netball. This year’s event is larger than ever: 98 teams have enrolled for football and 67 teams are playing netball. The teams all pay a small fee to contribute to the organizational costs.
The completion is spread over the whole district of Rumphi West. The district is divided into 4 zones , in which the teams of each zone play each other. Each zone winner qualifies for the finals, which are a great event each year.
Organizing the competition takes a lot of effort and communication. Each zone has its own committee that is responsible for the teams in their zone. The chairmen of the four commissions together form the main committee, which has its own overall chairman, Ackim Ndove. The main committee works closely with the management team of the Eva Demaya Centre, in order to coordinate and supervise all matches. The photo’s show a meeting of one of the zone commissions and a budget meeting with the main committee at the Centre. Also a part of a playing scheme from one of the zones is shown.
Besides all organizational preparations it is of course of great importance to come up with a good team and to train hard as a team. The teams are selected anew each season, and it is evident that everyone wants to have the best players from the community in the team in order to keep the honours of the village high. The photos show training activities and on one of them the teams are seen getting instructions from the referee just before the match.
Most participating teams find support in their own community to buy materials like shirts, shoes and balls. Some teams are lucky to have a specific sponsor, like the Eva Demaya football and netball teams, which receive funding from the Centre. As sports grow in popularity, it is easier for the teams to find support, inclusing financial sponsoring.
The competition is in progress now, with matches each weekend. Slowly the winner of each zone will reveal itself. So everybody is looking forward to the finals!