The Ministry of Youth and Sports is yet to decide whether to hire a full-time Malawi Queens coach after the Malawi National Council of Sports approved the NAM’s proposal over a year ago.
In January last year, the ministry said it was consulting relevant authorities, but up to now there is nothing on the ground.
The development comes at a time when the national netball team is expected to intensify preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games in England and the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa.
The ministry’s director of sports Jameson Ndalama on Tuesday said the issue is still being looked into by the government’s Human Resource Department.
“Consultations are still being undertaken by the department and we are just waiting for instructions regarding the final approval,” he said.
However, he could not tell the time frame for the process.
But an inside source confided in the Weekend Nation that government is in a dilemma on employ ing a permanent coach as the contract of the interim coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa is still running.
“The final approval on hiring a full-time coach was discussed on a number occasions at the ministry, but there was confusion as there is an interim coach who has a running three-year contract. Probably, we should expect this issue sorted out at the expiry of contract for the interim coach,” the source said.
Delays to have a Queens’ permanent coach is partly blamed for the national team’s continued struggles to improve on the international stage, where they are sixth on world ranking.
It has also been cited as the reason for the Queens’ failure to have a proper transitioning system since part-time coaches are only available for event-based assignments.
Prior to Sports Council approving Netball Association of Malawi’s (NAM) proposal, four years passed without progress as the council turned it down on the basis that the local netball governing body did not come up with a documented and outlined scope of work for a permanent coach.
NAM president Khungekile Matiya yesterday said it is worrisome that they are still in the dark on when they will have a permanent coach considering upcoming international competitions.
She said: “Currently, we have a coach who is working as a volunteer and does not have the resources to travel across the country in search of talent. Things could be different if we get a coach on full-time basis as that will be a big motivation.”
“Just like they did with the employment of the national football team coach [Meck Mwase], the same could work wonders with netball, which is the pride of the nation.”
Matiya also blamed the government for poor communication on very important netball issues, including the hiring of the coach and the construction of an indoor netball facility.
Netball analyst Wesley Namasala said employing a permanent coach is important as the coach has sufficient time to implement his/her strategies and philosophy.
“It also brings stability to the team, which is key to progress. A coach must have a considerable time to mould a team in a manner he/she desires. The proposal to have a permanent coach is certainly a move in the right direction,” he said.