The Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has asked Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) to consider incorporating netball in the Copa Coca-Cola schools tournament.
Massa runs a schools football tournament which is sponsored by Carlsberg Malawi Limited.
NAM vice-president Henry Kamata made the appeal on Sunday on the sidelines of the Central Region Presidential finals played at Area 30 Court in Lilongwe.
Mafco Soldiers beat Area 30 Socials 31-12 to book a ticket to the national finals.
Kamata, who was a guest of honour at the finals, said: “We would like to ask Massa to also include netball in Copa Coca-Cola tournament. We feel being sidelined and, as NAM, we are concerned.
“Your programmes are fundamental in uplifting the game in Malawi as the trophy is being played in schools, so this can also help us in our programmes of unveiling hidden netball talent in schools.”
Kamata, who was flanked by NAM president Rosy Chinunda and Massa president Ken Mphande, said netball has only the Presidential Cup played from grass roots level.
Mphande decline to comment on the request. He referred the matter to his general secretary Bright Malamula who blamed NAM for not opening up to work with Massa.
“Of course, it is not a problem involving them in our programmes. As of now, we do not have a sponsor for netball in schools. But, as a new committee, we are working to get one and I can assure them that come next year, we will secure sponsorship,” said Malamula.
He added: “But our concern is that NAM should come and work together with us. They do not open up as the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) does. They should knock at our door, not us at their door.”
Malamula said if NAM works with them, they will benefit from technical support which they are lacking on the ground.
Kamata thanked government for including netball in the Presidential Initiative on Sports in this yearâ€™s budget, saying it is an assurance that the tournament will be back next year.
He said the tournament is helping to improve the standards of netball from district level. He also hailed the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) for recruiting netball players in the military.
Goal shooter Elsie Kamâ€™mwamba inspired Mafco Soldiers to triumph after she posted the highest baskets, 20. She was assisted by goal-attacker Loveness Sambo who notched 11 baskets.
Mafco coach Lottie Chiuma hailed his girls for registering a convincing victory. He warned teams that they should expect an upset at the national finals
As champions, Mafco Soldiers received K200 000 (about $800) and a trophy whereas Area 30 Socials got K150 000 (about $600).
Models Sisters and Mafco Queens received K100 000 (about $400) and K80 000 (about $320) on third and fourth positions respectively.