Government says a funding request from Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) for Malawi Queens ahead of the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England this July is yet be approved.
Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development director of sports Jameson Ndalama yesterday said he could not tell when the authorisation will be done.
But the Queens face a race against time to prepare for the global netball showpiece as they remain with less than two months to prepare.
“We got both NAM and FAM’s funding requests at the same time but we had to consider football first because the Flames had to travel to e-Swatini for Chan first-leg last week and will have a second leg in two weeks,” he said.
“However, both budgets are being considered and they might be approved soon.”
NAM and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) submitted K160 million and K300 million funding requests, respectively, but government only released K85 million to FAM for the Flames’ back-to-back 2020 Championship of African Nations (Chan) qualifiers against e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland).
Netball World Cup is the biggest netball tournament that will determine the Queens’ ranking and their privilege to automatically qualify for the next global event as a team within the top-six bracket in the world.
Currently, Queens risk losing the world’s sixth rank and Africa’s second ranking to fast-improving seventh-ranked Uganda’s She Cranes, who recently beat Malawi to retain the Africa Netball Championship.
The Queens are the only side, among the 16 finalists, yet to start preparations.
When asked why they are yet to approve the Queens’ funding when they released funds for the Flames, Ndalama said they released part of the national football team funding due to its schedule.
When it was put to him that the delays are already eating into Queens’ coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda’s training programme, which was supposed to start early last month, Ndalama said they only wait for NAM to give them dates for camping.
In an interview yesterday, Saenda said although time is already up, the technical panel would need a month of camping for the Queens to be in good shape.
“The World Cup is a big event that has a big impact on our rankings and it could be better if we started training much earlier. But with the little time that is left, we can have an intensive training for over a month to build a good team,” he said.
Yesterday, NAM president Khungekile Matiya could not comment on the matter, saying “the issue is not newsworthy”.
She said: “The issues that we should be talking now are about the Queens not having proper infrastructures for their preparations.”
Netball analyst Wesley Namasala yesterday said with the Queens’ current state of preparedness, there is no need to expect better results from the international event, where they are paired in Group B against New Zealand, Barbados and Singapore.
“We cannot expect different results by doing the same things. The Netball World Cup is done in every four years and it is sad that all this time nothing was being done to source funding for preparations,” he said.