As agreed, Spanish football team Club Deportivo Leganés has started displaying the logo ‘Malawi, The Warm Heart of Africa’ on the front of its jersey in matches as well as in different media — both physical and digital.
It started with the club’s Matchday match against Levante UD on Sunday at the Estadio Municipal Burtaque, whose action picture was shared on Facebook by Kondwanie Chirembo — with the caption “jealous down ka logo ka Malawi Tourism kakuoneka bwino pa kit yathuyi”.
The response of this positive development, was a negative — first from Frederick Bvalani, who seemed to sneer by saying: “Koma mwamva zoti it’s just for 2 months (aren’t you aware it’s just for two months”?
Which indeed is what has been agreed on by the second tier of the Spanish league system, the Segunda División with Malawi Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Wildlife, to join the club’s rotating ‘main sponsor’ strategy.
The ‘main sponsor’ strategy allows companies from different sectors to have the opportunity to associate themselves with CD Leganes, to “enjoy the notoriety that comes with being a ‘main sponsor’”.
Kondwanie Chirembo diplomatically responded to Frederick Bvalani, — almost a sneer — saying: “Ayi, tinali tisanamve koma akaona momwe akusapotedwera aonjezera mpaka kutha kwa season (no, I haven’t hear, but probably if it is to be positive, the agreement may be extended)”
Patrick Manja also censured Frederick Bvalani, saying for the moment “it’s still a good deal”, with Bvalani adamantly saying: “Mwina akufuna kuti mukaona bwino muyambirane deal yolipira — apapa ndi zaulere (maybe they just want to entice us and later start billing us)”
Mwai Kadangwe replied to Bvalani, saying “olo atati fili deyizi zilibwino (even if it was just for three appearances, all is good”).
Mulauzi Henry Chete was on point to say the agreement “is on rotational basis”, while Yvonnie Akonda Sundu was of the opinion that: “Isn’t this better than nothing?” to which Kondwanie Chirembo responded: “Exactly — I get it we generally want more as things are not where we would have loved, but on this one, this little matters.”
Chirembo also said “a slice is better than nothing”, adding that in the two months of the deal, interested people will start “enquiring as to which country is this on the front of the [Club Deportivo Leganés] jersey”.
Aaron Allan Munthali went further to sneer and describe Club Deportivo Leganés as if it’s an ordinary Spanish team, yet this Spanish club — which has played the vast majority of its existence in the lower leagues — gained promotion in 1977 to the 4th division where it had played before for seven years when the category was still the third level.
After a steady progression, Leganés reached the division 3 in 1987, being promoted to the second division six years later and maintaining its league status for 11 seasons — during which it collected two consecutive eighth places (best) from 1995 to 1997.
In the 2013-14 season, Leganés promoted to Segunda Division after 10 seasons in Segunda B and for the first time in their history, Leganés earned promotion to La Liga in the 2015-16 season — becoming the fifth team from Community of Madrid to ever play in La Liga after Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and Getafe.
They remained in the top flight for four seasons, reaching a peak of 13th in 2018-19 before relegation in the last game of the following season, a 2–2 home draw with Real Madrid.
During this spell, the team qualified for the first time to the semifinals of Copa del Rey by eliminating Real Madrid in the quarterfinals thanks to a 2–1 win at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium — Spain’s most glamorous football venue.
In a statement from Secretary for Tourism, Culture & Wildlife, Chauncy Simwaka says through the agreement, “Malawi seeks to continue with its strategy of expanding brand awareness” and further saying the president of the club, Jeff Luhnow met President Lazarus Chakwera in September last year “to begin to strengthen ties and begin the search for opportunities and talent in football”.
Simwaka emphasizes that the “gracious offer for the brand comes at no cost to the Ministry” and that Malawi as a country is proud to be associated with CD Leganes and “believe that this exposure will not only be able to reach Spanish consumers and the team’s fan base but also football fans by depicting Malawi as a tourism destination”.
And even club president, Luhnow is quoted on the team’s website as attesting that, together with the club’s Africa partner, Rainbow Sports, met with President Chakwera last September to begin to strengthen ties “as part of a broader Malawi and Africa football development project”.
Good people, team jersey marketing out there is massive. For Malawi to earn this, we should be proud — and not sneer it on political thinking or just being myopic.
In 2018, Rwanda reached an agreement with English Premiership side, Arsenal, through which the London club features ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo on the left jersey sleeve as the club’s official tourism partner — signed at a £10 million-per-year contract lasting four years.
Ours is free — unless you give me evidence of otherwise. Let us be proud that the Malawi Warm Heart of Africa is being displayed in Spain.
This display is not cheap. Rwanda President, Paul Kagame is very intelligent and for him to part away with £10 million-per-year contract with Arsenal, he knew what he was doing.
So, why should we be so skeptical of Malawi’s deal with Club Deportivo Leganés? Let’s support it and pray it would continue. Such visibility is huge. When you watch the English Premier League matches, take time to concentrate on the electronic advertising apparel that are displayed around the pitch.
It’s when you should realise that our agreement with Club Deportivo Leganés is very serious — whether it was just for that match. Let’s not be negative on positive development of our country — thank you.