Athletics national team coach John Mwathiwa parted with K10 000 (about $25) from his meagre allowance to reward Confederation of African Athletics Championship (CAA) Southern Africa Cross Country gold medalist Grevazio Mpani.
Mwathiwa revealed this in a an interview on Wednesday, a day after arrival from Lesotho where Malawi won team silver with a haul of 13 medals. The race attracted athletes from 13 Southern Africa countries.
“I promised the athletes that whoever finishes number will get K10 000. I do not coach for money. It is about my reputation as a coach and a former top athlete. Even if 10 athletes had won gold I could have fulfilled my pledge,” he said.
He attributed the improved performance to the increase in the squad, merit in selection of athletes and incentives. Methiwa rewarded Mpani despite that he is assured of K100 000 (about $256) from Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM).
Mwathiwa was reluctant to reveal the amount he received in allowances for the trip. But sources said the coach was entitled to $30 a day, translating to about $150 (K55 000) for five days.
“Incentives must continue. Selection of athletes must not, as was in the recent past, revolve around regional quotas. This squad excelled because form was the overriding factor in selection. Even if the whole team comes from one region, what matters is performance. We ought to participate in international competitions regularly,” Mwathiwa added about his squad comprising 11 Central Region athletes, one and four from the North and the South respectively.
Mpani, who looks destined for the World Cross Country Championship, clocked 27 minutes. It was the first time that the AAM dispatched to such an event such a big squad of males and females forcing the organisers to give Malawi most improved team award.