FDH Bank ‘Go Konko Ndi Flames’ winner describes trip to AFCON finals as a lifetime opportunity

Fumbani Nyirenda

Duncan Mlanjira & Victor Singano Jnr

One of the two lucky Malawians, Fumbani Nyirenda — a nurse at Nsanje District — who will watch the Flames at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon after he was declared winner in the grand draw of the FDH Bank ‘Go Konko Ndi Flames’ promotion — cherishes the opportunity that he will be up close with the stars he has always admired.

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The FDH Bank ‘Go Konko Ndi Flames’ is a fully funded trip from air tickets, visa fees, accommodations, local transport, stadium entry tickets, pocket allowances including being accorded the chance to mingle with the Flames in the preparations and prior to their match.

On Tuesday, FDH Bank facilitated Nyirenda’s travel arrangement in acquiring a passport from the Department of Immigration at the Bank’s expense as this will be the first time for him to travel outside the country.

Nyirenda described the trip to the AFCON finals as a lifetime opportunity when he was handed his dummy air ticket on Tuesday at FDH Bank Head office, saying when he was first called by the Bank that he was one of the winners, it sounded so unreal.

“It wasn’t until the media confirmed it that the reality sunk in,” he said. “I rejoiced with my family, friends and work colleagues while at the same time thanking FDH Bank for the best festive season gift of my life.

“I must also recognise the role that FDH Bank is playing by supporting our beloved Flames as the official sponsor of the team despite all the economic challenges the corporate world is facing due to CoVID-19 pandemic.

“With the Bank’s support — as well as that from us the supporters — the Flames managed to qualify for the AFCON and it makes me feel very proud that FDH Bank allowed us customers to try our luck in following the Flames to the tournament in Cameroun.”

At the ceremony, FDH Bank’s Senior Marketing Manager, Ronald Chimchere announced that they are yet to get hold of the other winner, Mzimba-based Dorothy Harawa, whom they keep calling but couldn’t be reached.

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He applauded customers who positively supported the promotion which attracted several prizes in monthly draws that included DStv decoders and two months premium package subscription for 5 people,  GOtv decoders of two months subscription for 10 customers as well as K50,000 cash to 30 people.

“We’ve received a tremendous support from the customers and I can confirm that we have managed to achieve our main purpose of showing our love to the Flames by sending two people to Cameroon to cheer the team as you know that we are the official sponsors of the Flames,” Chimchere said.

Meanwhile, Blantyre-based Ronald Gomani went away with a Toyota Sienta car as grand prize winner of ‘Ipatse Moto Flames and Win’ promotion which Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was managing.

Gomani expressed his great delight when FAM contacted him through phone call, saying being a winner out of hundreds that participated in the promo was something he believes is very good luck.

Gomani, who is a Kanjedza township resident and is an Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) employee, disclosed that this is his first competition to win in his life after taking part in different promotions in Malawi.

“Honestly, I don’t how I can express my happiness because when I was joining the promotion I didn’t see myself coming out as a winner of this big prize.

“This is the best thing that I will live to remember for the rest of my life because it will also help a lot in as far as mobility is concerned,” he said.

The winner Gomani and his wife

There were three other lucky winners in the grand draw who went away with one refrigerators each while other 10 people each won Flames replica jerseys.

FAM Chief Executive Officer Alfred Gunda said they are impressed with how the competition generated positive support since it was launched in October this year towards raising funds for the Flames’ AFCON participation.

He added that FAM is happy that all the Flames fundraising initiatives made managed to hit the target of K100 million which was set by the association’s task force.

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“We really appreciate the massive support that Malawians showed us in all our activities just to make sure that our national team should participate with a positive mood in Cameroon.

Gunda further explained that the money realized in Ipatse Moto Flames and Win promotion and the other initiatives will be announced next week by the task force during a handover ceremony.

Among other fundraising activities conducted in support of the Flames included a VIP fundraising golf tournament led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima and VVIP dinner that was graced by President Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

The 2021 AFCON in Cameroun will be held between January 9 and February 6 in which the Flames are group B alongside Guinea, Senegal and fellow Confederation of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) member, Zimbabwe.

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The host country are in Group A alongside Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Cape Verde; Group C has north African giants Morocco alongside Ghana, Comoros and Gabon while the Super Eagles of Nigeria are in Group D with AFCON seven-time champions Egypt alongside Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.

Reigning African champions Algeria are in group E alongside Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra-Leone and Equatorial Guinea in Group E while Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia are in Group F.

The hosts, who are five-time tournament champs, will host Burkina Faso in Group A opener in Yaoundé on January 9 while Malawi will open their campaign against Senegal on January 10.

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This will be the Flames third AFCON appearance, who first qualified for in 1984 which were held in Côte d’Ivoire and the second in Angola in 2010.

In both finals, the Flames were booted out in the group stages while in 1984, they made a huge impression when the led 2-0 against Nigeria but the game ended 2-2. They lost 0-1 against Ghana and 0-3 against Algeria.

In 2010, they stirred some excitement in their opening game when they beat Tunisia 3-1 but lost the consequent matches — 0-2 against the hosts Angola and 1-3 against Mali.

Having had 3 points, Malawi needed a draw reach the quarter-finals for the first time, but after just three minutes into the game, they were down 0-2.

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