Malawi Commonwealth Games Association (MCGA) has faulted Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) and four other sports codes for laxity in their preparations for Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK in July this year.
MCGA’s Commonwealth Games leader of delegation Henry Sakala yesterday said NAM should have arranged intensive training for the Malawi National Netball Team instead of waiting for the training camp the Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) is expected to organise next month.
He said: “As coordinators of the Malawi team, it is our expectation that these codes, especially netball as a team sport, would by now be engaging in intensive preparations at association level as they wait for the final camping later on..
“By now, they could have found various sponsors to help them with the tune-ups. They could approach a hotel to support them as regards to accommodation and probably a juice making company for some refreshments. They should be proactive and not just wait for MOC or government Sakala said that after facilitating camp for the Malawi Queens and judo athletes in February, sending boxers to Mozambique for test bouts and engaging runners in an athletics championship in Zambia, they were hoping that the associations would engage prospective sponsors to keep the athletes active.
The concern comes after NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala stated during the week that they are liaising with MOC and government on the dates for the national netball team’s camping.
At present, the Queens are the only Group B side yet to intensify their preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Uganda, New Zealand, England, Trinidad & Tobago and Northern Ireland have even picked their final 18-player squads.
Netball is among the five disciplines that Malawi will compete in at the games. Others are boxing, swimming, judo and athletics. Netball is the country’s only discipline that made the grade through qualification.
Chimwala yesterday acknowledged Sakala’s observation and said NAM has already approached some corporate entities for support.
“We approached a number of companies, who are interested to support us. We understand that government has a lot of responsibilities and we have to complement their effort by finding our own resources,” he said.
Since its first participation in the Games in 1970, Team Malawi has participated in all the 12 editions, taking home three bronze medals in boxing. The first through Tatu Chionga in 1970 and the other two through Lyton Mphande and Solomon Kondowe in 1986.
Over the years, the Queens have been carrying the hopes to end the medal drought, but in the last two editions, they finished fifth, just missing out on the bronze medal match. Out of the 23 matches the Queens have played, they have won 13.
Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa yesterday said they are trying their best to keep the players in shape through home-based training sessions that see her sending instructions to the players who in turn submit video clips for evaluation.
She said the arrangement is powered by mobile telecommunication network operator TNM plc, which has been providing the players and the technical panel with data bundles for the last six months.