Malawi National Council of Sports says some national teams struggle to perform because they are unpatriotic and prioritise money.
The council’s board chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise said this when he hailed the Scorchers’ 2023 HollywoodBets Cosafa Women’s Championship glory.
“There are some players who blackmail us by demanding allowances as a condition to fulfill matches and that’s one reason why we don’t do well. That was not the case with this team [Scorchers].
“It was the first time I spoke to players without any blackmail. They did not ask for anything. These girls went out there, fought and won. They displayed a high sense of discipline.
“If you put money first, you will not win and this is what these girls proved.”
Madise said going forward, the council is working on a code of conduct for players that represent the country at all levels.
He said: “We are not saying money is not important, but there should be a proper way of raising concerns and not through blackmail.
“This habit where players are demanding and blackmailing will not be tolerated anymore. Unruly and unpatriotic players will not be allowed to represent national teams.”
While the council boss did not mention any teams, at the 2023 Netball World Cup in July, the Malawi Queens threatened to boycott the tournament unless council paid them external allowances equivalent to what they got from their sponsors FDH Bank plc. Through Madise, Council intervened and released the funds.
The Queens finished outside the top six at the tournament for the first time in 20 years.
In March this year, the Flames also boycotted training ahead of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt’s Pharaohs, demanding their external travel allowances. Malawi lost their match 0-4.
Flames captain John ‘CJ’ Banda yesterday said he could not comment much “because it is not in black and white that he [Madise] was referring to the Flames. We are patriotic and committed to national causes”. Queens captain Carol Mtukule declined to comment.
Meanwhile, in a congratulatory letter to FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, the council boss said the Scorchers’ resounding success was a testament to their dedication, perseverance and unwavering commitment to excellence on the field.
“The manner in which they played with skill, determination, and team spirit showcased their talent and the hard work they have put into their training and preparation.
Their journey to victory has made Malawi proud and has inspired countless individuals, both young and old, throughout the nation.
“I had the privilege and honour of not only watching our heroines play, but also interacted with them and was invited to address them during their final pre-match meeting. I was deeply impressed by the discipline and professionalism exhibited by the Scorchers, both on and off the pitch.
“Their conduct has been exemplary, setting a high standard for sportsmanship in Malawi. The Scorchers have not only proven themselves as extraordinary athletes, but also as deserving ambassadors for Malawi, demonstrating the values and principles that the nation holds dear.”
Nyamilandu said it was an honour and privilege to receive such praise and recognition from Sports Council.
He said: “This is the right thing to do. It is always right and proper to give credit when it is due.
“The Scorchers deserved it considering that the victory is one of the most significant achievements that has brought glory and honour to the nation in recent years.
“It has been a long while since Malawi won gold, and the Scorchers have just done that in style.”
Nyamilandu said the statement underlines government’s willingness and readiness to fund the Scorchers in future international competitions, having proved their potential and punched above their weight.
Said the FAM president: “The Scorchers are indeed a role model of a national team that put their country first and displayed exemplary behaviour. It is their excellent team spirit and hunger for success that has made a huge difference.
“With good support, the team has a brighter future, especially when you consider that it is a young team that will continue to grow.”