Castel, a major beer brand, has recently announced that it will be sponsoring the Malawian football league with a three-year commitment of €887,000 (1 billion Kawcha) to the local Challenge Cup. The annual investment by Castel will be €283,000 (320 million Kwacha), and the winners of the Challenge Cup will receive €44,000 (50 million Kwacha) in prize money, while the runners-up will receive half of that amount. Losing semi-finalists will receive €8,800 (10 million Kwacha).

This marks a significant deal for the local game, as Castel had withdrawn financial support in 2019 due to declining sales. However, the beer brand’s return highlights the potential impact that football has in promoting social and economic development in Malawi.

According to Castel’s managing director, Thomas Reynaud, the company’s commitment to supporting the government in talent development from grassroots levels is an enormous economic responsibility and a great platform for the country’s future. Reynaud emphasized that the business aims to have a positive impact on society, and the company’s sponsorship of the Challenge Cup reflects this mission.

Reynaud stated, “We felt it was very important to increase the fans’ happiness. You know, Blantyre has been impacted by Cyclone Freddy. We would like to see a lot of fun in the population. Football is international. It’s a big link among the population. We want to see more fun and happiness.”

The Challenge Cup is Malawi’s national cup competition and features all football clubs, from the amateur level to the Super League, the country’s top flight. The president of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Walter Nyamilandu, claimed that this was a record deal and that he could not stop pinching himself for such a windfall.

Nyamilandu said, “We cannot wait to ignite the fire that was lacking to catapult the game of football to greater heights. Of utmost significance, this evening is the commitment that Castel has set aside over K1 billion for sponsorship of the Castel Challenge Cup for three years, from 2023 to 2025. For this year alone, Castel is pumping over K320 million into the football competition. This is humongous by our standards. It is a dream come true because the football family has been yearning for such lucrative sponsorship for a long time.”

The commitment by Castel to the Malawian football league underscores the potential of football in driving social and economic development in the country, and it is hoped that other businesses will follow suit in investing in the sport.