By Mphatso Malidadi:
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) has expressed hope it will persuade South Africa-based want-away sponsor, Tiwone Mdina, to honour his pledge by sponsoring the last tournament.
Chessam President, Susan Namangale, said the association had engaged stakeholders such as Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) to offer advice to the body to convince Mdina to fulfill his promise.
In 2017, Mdina gave Chessam a two-year notice that he was withdrawing his sponsorship. Last year, Mdina, through his representative Jeka Chipofya, announced that this year’s champion would walk away with K1 million.
However, Mdina has opted to stop bankrolling the tournament which had been running on a gentleman’s agreement since its inception.
Namangale said even though there was nothing binding between the two parties, Chessam expects Mdina to fulfill his pledge.
“Mdina is a man of his promise. He has always honoured his promises as far as I know. I have always known him as a man of integrity and so I am keeping fingers crossed that he will rescind the decision and live up to his promise as a way of parting as per the two-year notice which he gave in public and confirmation of the same that he will make the last tourney bigger by ensuring the winner goes away with K1 million,” she said.
The development comes at a time Chessam has made several attempts to get Mdina’s consent for the last tournament.
The Chessam President, who was voted the best sports administrator during the 2018 Malawi Sport Awards, said it was strange that Mdina opted not to contact the association.
“It’s very strange, I must say, as that’s not the Mdina I know. Mdina has become a force to reckon [with] among the chess fans due to his support. He is a chess player and for sure this is not the move he would want to play for the end game,” she said.
Namangale also revealed Chessam tried to contact Mdina’s personal representative in the country but he never returned back to the association after promising to do so.
“We contacted the representative when we were failing to contact the sponsor and he promised he would come back when he gets in touch with Mdina but he never did,” she said.
Namangale said they would continue pursuing Mdina to honour his pledge despite lacking official binding documents.
Namangale confirmed Chessam was seeking advice from other stakeholders to handle the issue with sober minds.
Mdina started as a regional tournament in the Southern Region and then it started accommodating players from the other regions on invitational basis. It then developed into a national tournament before graduating into an international Fide rated tournament.