Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has budgeted over K600 million for construction of modern courts, talent identification and training of umpires among other programmes.
The netball governing body believes the projects will improve the country’s arguably most successful sport.
The plans are contained in a report NAM presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises before the ongoing Mid-Year National Budget Review in the National Assembly sitting started.
The report, whose copy we have, blames lack of modern infrastructure, poor funding for grass roots netball and inadequate courts as some of the challenges dwarfing the sport.
Under talent identification which is budgeted at K85 million, NAM said it will target colleges, primary and secondary schools.
“The expected outcomes (are) greater proportion of players from rural areas to find their way into top teams, greater number of registered players and more talented players to be identified and exposed to top netball,” it reads in part.
NAM further says it wants funding of K300 million to construct four courts across all the regions and also improve the existing ones.
“We will also provide stop watches to umpires, ground scoreboards and whistles. We will also improve on the goal poles to make them less risky for players in case they hit them,” the 13 paged report, dated February 2 2017, reads.
NAM president Ro s y Chinunda said though they presented their blueprint to the parliamentary committee, they do not expect government to finance all the outlined prospective projects.
“Government is the main financier of various infrastructural projects in the country and we expect them to assist in a bigger way. However, we can wholeheartedly welcome anyone who wants to help,” she said.
Recently, NAM struck a K600 million sponsorship deal with Rach Family Trust (RFT) which has promised to construct a netball court.
Asked if the plan that was presented to the parliamentary committee was the one presented to RFT, Chinunda said they are different projects.
“The components that are in these two plans are different and with totally different objectives.
But If all components in the two blueprints get adequate funds, netball will be fully professional,” she said.
In the meantime, Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises member Alex Meja said they would lobby for increased funding towards NAM.
“Netball is a successful sport and it is important that they get the necessary support. Most of the outlined projects such as construction of new courts are really crucial,” he said.
Last year, NAM asked for K500 million but Parliament only approved K34 million.