At long last. The Under-21 national netball team is expected to start camp training today in preparation for the Africa Youth Netball Championship slated for Botswana next month.
Until recently, there was a cloud of uncertainty over the team’s preparations due to, among other things, Netball Association of Malawi’s (NAM) delay to appoint a coaching panel, which would in turn select players.
But NAM president Rosy Chinunda on Tuesday confirmed that 20 players have been selected for the first phase of preparations which will be held at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) under the tutelage of coach Mary Waya and her assistant Whyte Mlilima.
“The players are expected to start reporting today, but we expect to have a full squad probably later in the week because some of them are sitting for their final MSCE exams.
“Time is not on our side, but we are hoping to make the best of the three weeks to prepare for the tournament and select the final squad of 12 players,” she said.
Chinunda said the majority of the players were selected from schools.
The NAM boss also said they are banking on well-wishers to raise the K22 million (about $31 700) shortfall.
NAM is assured of K32 million (about $46 100) annual subvention from government which is K22 million short of its revised budget for the trip.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana said funding for the Junior Queens’ camp training is available.
“However, we need to see the squad on the ground before we can give them funding,” he said.
The continental showpiece—to be staged between July 23 and 31—will see the top three out of 10 participating teams, qualifying for the 2017 World Youth Netball Championship.
However, as we went to press, NAM was yet to release the players names. n