In response to First Lady Getrude Mutharika’s offer to help the Queens achieve glory on global stage, the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) wants her to lobby government for more funding for the team to have thorough preparations.
“We are glad that we have a First Lady who has shown passion for the sport. We would love if she could lobby government for more funding to ensure thorough preparations. We would further want her to influence government to fulfil the pledge made by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika to construct a state-of-the-art indoor court.
“When we go out for international competitions, the courts are of international standards and yet here our girls play on outdated courts. We need such modern facilities in this country and government should take a step towards fulfilling the pledge made by the late president. In that way, netball will develop,” said Chinunda.
The NAM president also said offering coaches permanent contracts would motivate them into giving out something extra.
She said they will sit down as an executive committee and compile a list of challenges affecting netball and forward them to the First Lady for her perusal.
Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua on Tuesday also said the area of priority if the Queens are to break into the top four is adequate funding to ensure intensive preparations.
Unlike football, netball is yet to have a permanent coach employed by government. It also has no permanent technical director to implement grassroots programmes.
“It is a far-fetched dream to expect the team to achieve greatness as long we do things in shortcuts. My appeal is for government to employ a permanent coach. I am not saying this because I am in charge as at now.
“A coach should have enough time to work and develop a long-term plan,” said Chawinga-Kalua in an exclusive with Weekend Nation.
She said a permanent coach will be able to have time to visit all the districts in the country and recruit players for the national team unlike the situation now whereby most players are only from prominent clubs in the country.
She also appealed to government to be sending the technical staff for refresher courses so that they are up-to-date with modern techniques and tactics.
“The last time we benefited from a refresher course was in 2011,” said Chawinga-Kalua.
Sports and Culture Minister Grace Chiumia acknowledged that government is operating without donor aid in its budget, as such resources are limited, “and that is why much as we would love to assist the Queens, we can’t do everything”.
“Our commitment to the Queens is unquestionable. We always fund them to participate in competitions, but we are limited in what we can do. That’s why we appeal to companies to assist by partnering with government,” she said.
On the issue of netball court, she said government has allocated a plot next to Bingu Stadium and once funds are available construction will commence.
“It is not like we have forsaken the plans. We are committed, but funds are not available,” said Chiumia. n