Despite being offered a four-month grace period, the Malawi Under-21 national netball team participation at this year’s World Youth Netball Championship still remains in limbo as NAM is failing to pay K1.8 million (about $ 5 294) deposit to cater for accommodation expenses.
Malawi is on the waiting list having failed to register last year and were advised by the host country Scotland in November that they can pay the money in two instalments with the last due early February. The tournament is slated for August.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) is struggling to raise funds to enable it make a downpayment.
The association’s general secretary Hellene Mpinganjira said in an interview that they submitted a proposal to government and are still waiting for response.
“We are talking with government and they are looking into the matter and have put us on hold. We are also trying the private sector, but it is not promising,” said Mpinganjira.
According to the rules of the tournament, each team is supposed to pay for its own accommodation.
The accommodation for the Malawi delegation will cost over K7 million (about $20 588) for the 10-day event to be played between 22 and 31 August.
The deposit was supposed to be paid in March last year. But NAM claimed they failed to pay then due to problems of forex the country was facing that time.
International Netball Federation (Ifna) media office said in an e-mail response that the ball is in NAM’s court to pay and be considered for the tournament.
Ifna said the event is for 20 teams, but only 19 have confirmed meaning Malawi has a chance to fill the last spot if they pay in time.
“Malawi is one of the best netballing countries in the world and their presence at such tournaments makes a difference as they perform well. They are the top team in Africa and we can’t afford not having them,” reads part of the response..
Malawi participated at the last championship in Cook Islands in 2009 and finished 5th out of 20 teams.
About five players from that team were promoted to the senior national team and are now top players for the Queens.
They include Australia-based shooter Mwayi Kumwenda, Sindi Simtowe, Bridget Kumwenda, Towera Vinkhumbo, and Ellen Chibokho.
Peace Chawinga, who was in charge of the 2009 team, said failure to take part in the tournament, would be a recipe for disaster.
“This tournament has proved beyond doubt as the best platform to expose our youngsters earmarked for the senior national team in future. said Chawinga.