Have you ever heard of an umpire showing a red card to a netball player for committing a foul or seen a goal defender over-lapping to score as is the case in football?
Of course, these two actions do not legally apply, but The Nation learnt on Friday that this chaotic arrangement is standard practice within the jurisdiction of Blantyre Rural.
This is the reason the Blantyre Rural office coughed K300 000 to conduct a week-long Basic Netball Umpiring and Coaching Course at Mpemba Reformatory Centre (MRC) for 17 sports teachers from primary and secondary schools in Blantyre Rural’s Nankumba Zone.
“This course has rescued us from total ignorance of netball rules. We have had no such training in the past and, as a result, we could penalise a netballer with red card so she could not feature in the rest of the match. But today, we have learnt a player is only suspended for few minutes before being given another chance,” said Margaret Sota, a sports teacher at the MRC.
Another sports teacher, Samson Zochinga of Mpemba Primary School, concurred with Sota that sometimes they to play of the game as if it were a soccer match.
According to Blantyre Rural sports officer Eunice Mtifukanji, they decided to conduct the training after research indicated that netball standards in her fold were deteriorating due to ignorance of rules.
She said her government-sponsored office is also planning to conduct similar courses in other Blantyre Rural zones of Lirangwe, Mdeka, Lunzu and Chileka.
Facilitator of the training Griffin Saenda, who is Southern Region sports development officer and a reputable netball coach, said the best performers during the course will undergo advanced training soon. n