Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) will use the inaugural Chifundo Charity Shield to mobilize the public to donate blood prior and during the match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on April 9.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said they approached MBTS for the partnership after noting that local football is underutilized as regards its potential in social and economic development of the country.
“Football is the biggest crowd-pulling sport, which exists not only to entertain but also help to save lives and some social challenges. Globally, it has helped to tackle critical problems such as racism, poverty and war. Why shouldn’t we use it for noble causes such as advocating blood donation in the country,” said Nyamilandu during contract agreement signing ceremony at Mpira Village in Chiwembe, Blantyre on Monday.
“We feel we have a big advocacy role to play in ensuring that such necessities as blood are readily available for patients in our hospitals. We, therefore, ask all soccer lovers to join us in this life-saving initiative.”
According to Nyamilandu, the proceeds of the match will go to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where there is a critical shortage of patients’ trolleys and that expenses of the participating teams, in terms of accommodation and allowances, will be met by the yet to be disclosed sponsors.
“The Chifundo Charity Shield will be an annual event that will see Super League and Carlsberg Cup champions facing off in a match for a charitable cause. This year we are helping MBTS and KCH, but next year we will identify other beneficiaries,” he said.
MBTS chief executive officer Natasha Nsamala thanked FAM for the initiative saying it will go a long way in achieving their target of collecting 80 000 units of blood this year.
She said although they have a deficit of 67 000 units of blood for this year, they target to collect 250 units through the Charity Shield.
“We need at least 20 000 people to donate blood at least four times a year to meet our target since the sitting.”