The 2016/2017 season of the Fifa/FAM Under-15 leagues starts this weekend in all districts in the country.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) youth development officer James Sangala said all is set for the kick-off of the new season on November 19.

He said during the pilot phase last season, 18 districts from the South and Centre were involved, but in the upcoming season, all districts have been incorporated in the programme.

Defending champions: Zomba Urban

Defending champions: Zomba Urban

“The new coaches and the referees for the incorporated districts were already identified and trained at Mpira Village from October 24 to 28. Unlike last year, there will be no re-launch, but we will expect the display of quality and standard football from the youngsters,” he said.

He added that the National Youth Football Association (NYFA) will also be involved in the running of the programme.

Sangala said age verification exercise will be done to ensure teams are using players of the right age bracket.

Zomba Urban and Dedza were Eastern and Central regional winners respectively in the pilot phase leagues.

Zomba coach Tione Mhone said he is aware of stiff competition in the new season.

“As defending champions, I am expecting strong resistance from the teams which we beat last season. But I am optimistic of doing well and make Zomba proud by retaining the title. I have a cream of youngsters who cannot fail me in this campaign,” said Mhone.

This year, Ntcheu has been incorporated in the Eastern Region owing to the long distance they used to travel in the centre. n

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