International Netball Federation (IFN) will not stage the 2020 Fast5 Netball Series, a tournament that has for years helped expose Malawian talent to the international market.
The event does not appear on the calendar of events which the international netball body has published on its website.
While all the tournaments, including those postponed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, appear on the calendar, there is no mark of the Fast5 tournament which is normally staged in October.
In an interview, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) General Secretary Carol Bapu confirmed that the tournament is off this year.
“We have not received any communication on when the tournament will be held.
“If it was to be played, INF would have communicated by now,” she said.
Only teams that are in the top six of the world rankings qualify for the Fast5 Netball Series.
Bapu feared that if it was going to be staged this year, Malawi could have missed as it perches on position seven having lost its six place to Uganda.
“With the coronavirus threat, we are not able to play games that can help us gain enough points to replace Uganda. So, in some way, failure to hold it is some blessing,” she said.
Netball analyst Sam Kanyenda described the development as disadvantageous to Malawi as young players that are being blended into the national team will not gain Fast5 experience.
“Next time the tournament is organised, most of our players will be new to the Fast5 rules. It will be very difficult, therefore, to perform well,” he said.
Fast5 netball features shortened games and goals worth multiple points. The quarter lasts six minutes rather than the normal 15.
The World Series is organised in years when there is no Netball World Cup like last year. It was introduced in 2009 and was last played in 2018. New Zealand are the defending champions.