Malawi Queens’ preparations for the 2023 Netball World Cup have suffered a setback as their second camping scheduled to start on Monday has been postponed indefinitely due to lack of funds.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) vice-president Chimwemwe Bakali confirmed the development yesterday, citing financial challenges as the reason.
This comes barely three months before the global showpiece throws off this July in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Postponing the camping was the only option after the Malawi National Council of Sports told us that there is no funding for the Queens at present,” he said.
Bakali could not tell when the camping will start, saying they are trying their best to have an alternative means of finding the resources “because the Queens cannot do without the camping, which is key to a better performance at the global showpiece.”
The camping is the third of the nine stages that NAM set for Queens’ tune-ups, which started with national trials before the first camping in February.
Sports Council spokesperson Edgar Ntulumbwa yesterday said funding for the Queens is not readily available as they are waiting for allocation from the 2023/24 National Budget.
However, he urged NAM and other associations to avoid their over reliance on government funding and find alternative means of complementing government support.
Said Ntulumbwa: “Currently, there is no funding as we are waiting for allocations. In spite of that, it is our plea to associations, including NAM, to ensure they have other alternative means of getting resources rather than only waiting for government support.
“They should learn to approach the corporate world with convincing proposals while waiting for the government to financially assist them to ensure nothing goes amiss on their activities.”
Meanwhile, Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa has said preparations, are already behind schedule.
In an interview with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio 2 FM Sport Programme, she explained that her main concern are the local-based players as they are off-season.
“I hope NAM will find support for the World Cup preparations because we are already late as we are expected to play a catch-up game,” explained the coach.
“We need to be diligent. Apart from our professionals, our players are in off season and this obviously means their fitness levels are not satisfactory.”
The Queens have been inactive since August last year when they competed in the Netball World Cup qualifying tournament in South Africa.
NAM needs K350 million for the Queens to prepare for the Netball World Cup. They also need K190 million to to compete in the PacificAus Netball Series this month end in Australia.
At present, the First Lady Monica Chakwera is expected to host a fundraising dinner at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe to help the Queens prepare for the Netball World Cup.
At the global showpiece, the world’s sixth-ranked Queens are in Group B alongside third-ranked England, 10th-placed Scotland and 14th-ranked Barbados.
Group A has Australia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga while hosts South Africa will take on Jamaica, Wales and Sri Lanka in Group C. Reigning champions New Zealand are in Group D alongside Uganda, Singapore and Trinidad & Tobago.