Efforts to revive the Confederation of Southern Africa Netball Association (Cosana) Championship this year have hit a snag after organisers cancelled the competition which was expected to be staged in Lesotho next month.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda yesterday said Cosana communicated that the tournament has since been shifted to next year.
Cosana—a once revered tournament that was competed for by southern Africa countries including Africa’s best sides Malawi and South Africa—was last played in Durban, South Africa in 2009.
Malawi emerged champions in that tournament followed by South Africa. Other countries that took part in the event were Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Chinunda said the cancellation communication indicates that Cosana did not secure enough funding to hold the competition.
“The lack of funding has been the same song for the past five years. It just shows that netball in Africa is struggling financially,” she said.
Chinunda has expressed fear that the competition could be headed for extinction.
“We have strong fears that this competition might not be staged again if the state of affairs are anything to go by,” she said.
NAM president said Cosana is crucial as it helps teams prepare for the Netball World Cup and the Fast5 World Series.
“Malawi, for instance, rarely plays test matches because of financial problems. This tournament is, therefore, crucial and we need it for the development of the sport in southern Africa,” she said.
Malawi national team captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira yesterday said reviving the competition is critical as it exposes youthful players to pressure that accompanies international matches.
“Most of the players you watch in the senior national team are products of youth tournaments like the Cosana Under-20. It is, therefore, important to have the competition back,” she said in an interview. n