In October, Surestream Petroleum, one of the two companies awarded exploration licenses to explore for oil in Lake Malawi, launched a football academy.
Two weeks ago, Face of Malawi reported that Wayne Rooney, a striker for Manchester United and the English national team, has become the ambassador of Surestream’s football academy. This story has not been reported internationally and other publications have reprinted or reposted the story. In fact, the launch of the football academy has also not be covered outside of Malawi’s borders or announced on Surestream’s website.
Speaking to Capital FM, Play soccer Malawi general secretary Patricio Kulemeka said the project is expected to help build the future national football team as the participating children are acquiring skills that will enable them become professional players.
He added that that they project is giving the Malawi football development the international exposure it needs hence the involvement of Rooney.
“Sure Stream has got clubs in Rwanda, Senegal. So these two items when you look at them and the connection they have with Manchester and big clubs,” said Kulemeka.
“These have already showed an interest to come in and Rooney as we are talking has also shown an interest and he is already an ambassador for this project in Malawi. And you can see that Malawi will benefit more.”
A little groundwork suggests that Surestream may in fact be supporting the organisation Play Soccer Malawi that has been operational in the country since 2009 rather than spearheading the academy itself. Yet until the company or the organisation releases a statement about this, we have to rely on the media reports in country.
So, what do Lake Malawi and Manchester United’s Rooney have in common? Answer: Surestream Petroleum.
Update 2 February 2013: Following the termination of the Malawi national football team’s coach, Kinnah Phiri, the Football Association of Malawi is looking for a new coach. Two people working with Surestream Football Academy in Blantyre have been tipped for the job, Patrick Kulemeka and Andy Dell.
Update 6 February 2013: Speculation that either Patrick Kulemeka or Andy Dell may be selected as Malawi’s national football team coach, both associated with Surestream Football Academy, have proved unfounded. Eddington Ng’omano, Big Bullets FC coach, has been appointed Malawi national football team head coach, succeeding Kinnah Phiri.