The Malawi National Council of Sports (MNSC) has described 2016 as one of the worst years in sports development as compared to other neighbouring countries in the Southern African region.
In an interview with Weekend Nation in Lilongwe, MNSC executive secretary George Jana said apart from netball, almost all other sports disciplines failed to make the grade.
“I can say we stagnated as there was no success both on international and domestic front. The performance was not good for most of our sports disciplines compared to other countries. We need to do more in this new year if we are to be at par with other nations,” said Jana.
Without naming specific sports codes, Jana blamed lack of progress on poor administration, planning and also primitive infrastructure.
“There are many factors that have contributed to our stagnation as a nation, most sports disciplines were not vibrant because of leadership short falls, and our infrastructure is makeshift and also poor planning. We need to invest in infrastructure development. We need progressive leadership at the helm of sports associations,” he said.
Jana also said associations need to come up with proper marketing strategies to woo companies to invest in their respective disciplines.
“In this age marketing is key to winning sponsorship. Sports associations need to be resourceful so as to make their brands attractive to the corporate world,” he said.
Chief sports desk officer in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Paul Silungwe said Malawi should go back to basics.
“We need to go back to investing in grass roots through introduction of viable and new sports programmes in schools just like it is in Zambia. We should not focus on immediate success but long-term by investing in the youth,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi general secretary Alfred Gunda also admitted that 2016 was a disappointment.
“Our national teams did not perform well, but on the other hand we can single out the success of the Under-17 national team [which reached the quarter-finals of the Cosafa Cup],” said Gunda.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda described last year as a success.
“We managed to beat giants at the Fast5 World Netball Series where we finished third. Of course, the Under-20 team performed poorly at the Africa Youth Netball Championship, but generally it was a good year,” she said.
For Handball Association of Malawi, it was not a bad year after they went and took part in the International Handball Challenge Trophy in South Africa. Though the team did not win the tournament but the sheer participation meant the sport was vibrant.
“We were active and took part in the international tournament I can qualify that as a success,” said the association’s general secretary Dennis Kumwenda.