Out of 25 member-associations, the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) will alongside their counterparts of Trinidad and Tobago and Northern Ireland get increased funding, International Federation of Netball Associations (Ifna) African Region development manager Joan Smit announced yesterday.
“This was approved at IfnaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last board meeting to uplift netball standards with more funding assistance. If it were not for the strong belief Ifna has in NAM, we would not have been here. Currently, Malawi is AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s number one, but we have to take it to another level,” she said at the Blantyre Youth Centre, marking the opening of an umpires grading course.
Smit is accompanied by course conductor and Ifna umpires tutor Margaret Deighan. Their visit is part of initiatives to improve umpiring and coaching standards.
At the end of the week-long course, in which Deighan will drill 20-plus umpires at the BYC, the participants will receive their first grading which Ifna introduced recently.
Ifna, Smit said, will also train two educators to prepare Malawi umpires and coaches for newly introduced Africa netball awards.
“From January 1 2012, Ifna introduced new netball rules and you are among the first people to get first-hand knowledge about them straight from Ifna. Ifna wants netball to become an Olympic sport and one way is to ensure that it is played in more countries,” noted Smit who proceeded to Mali last night.
In his speech, Sports Council board member, Wilkins Mijiga challenged NAM to raise netball standards from being at the summit of Africa netball.
“We need to be ambitious and go top of the world. Netball is a jewel in the crown of Malawi sports,” said Mijiga.