FDH Bank plc has attributed the delay to roll out its national netball cup to some logistical challenges.
The bank’s senior marketing manager Ronald Chimchere said this yesterday when asked why the competition has, for the second successive year, failed to throw off when the inaugural FDH Bank Football Cup was held this year with Silver Strikers emerging champions.
The netball cup was initially expected to start in March 2020 after the bank unveiled a K360 million three-year netball sponsorship with K300 million going directly to Malawi Queens, K45 million towards the netball cup and K15 million to Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) for administration.
Chimchere said the competition could have thrown off this year, but they were waiting for the new NAM leadership to settle down following the association’s elections which led to various key positions being occupied by new faces.
“That, plus the effects of Covid-19, prompted us to keep the netball tournament on hold. But let me assure netball lovers that the netball cup sponsorship remains intact,” he said.
However, Chimchere could not explain on whether the development means the competition will continue to be carried out beyond the expiry of the current three-year deal at the end of 2022, considering that two years have already elapsed.
“In the next few days, we will hold a meeting with NAM to see how best to handle the situation,” he said.
NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala said besides the reasons given by FDH Bank, there were also some logistical issues.
“It was expected that the FDH Bank team that facilitated the recent football cup was the one that would also handle the netball cup. So, they could not manage two competitions at once,” he said.
Nevertheless, Chimwala said it is their hope that the bank will let them hold the competition early next year, preferably in January.
“The earlier we start the competition the better because we would like to use it to prepare for the next international events,” he said.
The Queens will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in July 2022.
They are also expected to build a strong team ahead of the 2023 Netball Word Cup in South Africa.
The FDH Bank Netball Cup will be the first national netball competition in the country in years.