The Blantyre urban sports office has shifted football and netball talent identification target from primary schools to communities after noting that a section of hidden talent was being neglected.
Blantyre urban sports officer John Chiutsi made the declaration on Wednesday when his office engaged Fifa certified football trainer Karen Chaula and Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) general secretary Annie Hanjahanja-Billie in talent discovery exercise at Ayise Youth Centre and Naizi community ground in Bangwe township, Blantyre.
The exercise saw Chiutsi donating a set of netball uniform and netball to a group of girls that regulary play netball at the youth centre.
“We have done a number of talent identification exercises in public primary schools and we have so far spotted potential stars. However, we have noted that by concentrating on particular schools, we were sidelining other talents that go to different schools other than those that we focus on,” said Chiutsi, who was accompanied Blantyre urban sports committee chairperson Charles Katola.
“Therefore, we believe by approaching the youths in their communities, we will be thorough in our exercises as we will be able to get all of them at once, regardless of the schools they go to. In that way, no one will feel neglected.”
According to Hanjahanja-Billie, the shift of target will provide them with unlimited platform for spotting netball talents, especially tall players that can be nurtured into future Malawi Queens’ stars.
“We have observed, through the on-going Commonwealth Games in Australia, how heights are influencing the development of the game in the world and we do not want to be left behind. Teams like Jamaica have upped their game due to the scouting of tall players from the grassroots and we need to be in the same line starting at community level,” she said.
On her part, one of the potential netball talent Elufe Jettu, 12, welcomed the Blantyre urban sports office’s initiative saying it will go a long way in motivating the youth to take sports seriously. n