Warm hugs, handshakes, flowers and a ministerial victory speech flowed as stylish Malawi Queens touched down at Chileka Airport on Monday at 8:30 am with a glittering African Netball Championship trophy they have rendered a personal effect for two running years.
The Queens, dressed in colourful red attire with white spots, brought further good news that the world netball controlling authority, the International Federation of Netball Associations (Ifna) had awarded the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) hosting right for next yearâ€™s edition of the continental championship.
Minister of Youth and Sports Enock Chakufwa Chihana, director of sports Jameson Ndalama and Malawi National Council of Sportsâ€™ executive secretary George Jana welcomed the Queens from Tanzania where they strolled to the title retention on Friday.
“I have made arrangements that you should present the trophy to the President [ Mrs Joyce Banda], probably this weekend. As government, we will ensure that you play more friendly matches and that the private sector should step in to assist the team,” Chihana told the team at the VIP lounge.
“Come to me so that we can discuss how we can market Malawi netball and make more of our players professionals. By winning the championship, you are our ambassadors. We are proud of you and you will never walk alone.”
NAM general secretary Helene Mpinganjira confirmed that Ifna had awarded Malawi as hosts for the next championship.
“Malawi were announced as next yearâ€™s hosts during the prize presentation in Tanzania and we will just wait for official correspondence. We are likely to host it around the same time next year. We will discuss with government. The facilities are there, they just need upgrading. We have hosted other international events before,” Mpinganjira said.
Malawi is ranked number one in Africa and fifth in the world. Their latest triumph in Dar es Salaam could increase the prospects of their rising on the ladder.