Malawi Under-21 netball team’s preparations for the World Youth Championship qualifiers have been disrupted by the death, last week, of its coach Connis Mhone who was solely responsible for scouting youth players.
Confirming the development, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda admitted that they will now start from scratch.
Mhone was using the ongoing Presidential Cup games to identify players for the qualifiers scheduled for Botswana in July this year.
“The last time we met, I asked her, are we making progress in our preparations and she said she had identified a lot of players. But sadly, we do not know the players since she did not finalise the talent identification and give us a report,” Chinunda said.
Meanwhile, NAM general secretary Carol Bapu said the situation has been worsened by the fact that Mhone did not have an assistant.
“She did not have anybody to share ideas with, so we are really in a difficult situation. It’s back to square one,” she said.
Last year, NAM appointed Samuel Kanyenda as Under-21 assistant coach, but the Blue Eagles mentor turned down the post.
Babu said they will meet to map the way forward.
“Since Connis just passed away last week, I think it’s too early to start planning on the Under-21. But we will sit down after a while to map the way forward,” she said.
Mhone, a renowned top shooter in her hayday, died from cancer at Kamuzu Central Hospital. Some months ago, she was appointed young Queens’ coach as they prepared for the 2017 World Youth Championship.
Malawi last participated at the global tournament in 2009 when it was played in Cook Islands where sensational shooter Mwawi Kumwenda started to build her iconic name. Sindi Simutowe and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda were other players that were unearthed.
However, NAM did not organise a team to compete at the World Youth Championship in Glasgow Scotland in 2013 because of lack of funds.