Thomson Mpinganjira: FDH Bank Gifts MK450 Million to Malawian Football

In September 2019, FDH Bank pledged MK450 million in sponsorship for Malawian football in a five-year deal. The sponsorship will fund a national league cup at a cost of MK90 million per year, providing an MK53.6 million prize fund. Under the new deal, the competition winners will receive MK25 million, a record sum in domestic football.

Levi Nkunika, FDH Bank’s Head of Marketing, explained that as a homegrown Malawian financial institution, the bank had come up with the historic deal to invest in Malawi’s future football potential. He said that no bank believes more in the potential of Malawian football than FDH Bank, which is why the organisation first partnered with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) in 2016. He pointed out that Malawian football was at its lowest level in the country at that point, but FDH Bank recognised its potential.

A subsidiary of FDH Financial Holdings, FDH Bank was founded by prominent Malawian businessman Dr Thomson Mpinganjira, who also established First Discount House and FDH Money Bureau. Thomson Mpinganjira was Malawi’s first stockbroker, helping to establish the Malawi Stock Exchange in 2000 and serving as its first CEO, before opening his own commercial bank in 2008. Headquartered in Blantyre, FDH Bank has grown to become a leading Malawian financial services provider. Its parent company, FDH Financial Holdings, employs over 800 people worldwide.

Mr Nkunika said that while some people saw trouble, FDH Bank recognised great success and opportunities through the partnership, pointing out that Malawian football had made great progress and had a bright future. Unveiling the deal, President Walter Nyamilandu announced that FAM no longer required investment from other corporate sponsors, since it already had the optimum number. He suggested instead that other companies channel their efforts towards underserved categories, for example, women’s and youth football tournaments.

The FAM President said that FDH had raised the bar for Malawian football sponsorship in the country, with no other bank backing the sport so strongly. Mr Nkunika said that while previously MK25 million paid for the whole competition, thanks to FDH Bank’s generosity, this sum would go to the competition winners alone. He said this illustrated that Malawian football deserves the best, not the leftovers, acknowledging that the sport had found a father in FDH Bank, supporting it in both the good times and the bad.

The deal came in the wake of FDH Bank investing MK180 million in sponsorship for the Flames. The bank also sponsors grassroots football by providing MK10 million in funding for the Mayor’s Trophy staged in Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre.

In 2019 alone, FDH Bank pledged more than MK160 million to sports events, including investing MK1 million in the non-title boxing match between Limbani Masamba and Chikondi Makawa at Blantyre’s Motel Paradise in September 2019.

Jabber Alide, Competitions Committee Chairperson for FAM announced that, thanks to FDH Bank’s contribution, 16 regional teams would receive an MK500,000 starter-pack as well as two match balls, with runners-up receiving MK8 million, semi-finalists receiving MK2 million, and quarterfinalists receiving MK1 million. Alide announced that there would also be individual awards, such as for the top scorer, earning players up to MK200,000 per award.