Malawi has received a netball facility called sprung floor valued at four million South Africa rand (about K250 million) from Africa Netball in recognition of the national netball team’s pedigree in the sport.
Africa Netball president Cecilia Molokwane, who is also South Africa Netball president, confirmed this yesterday through Africa Netball Cup Facebook Page on the sidelines of Africa Netball Cup underway in Windhoek, Namibia.
She said Malawi and Kenya have received the facility as part of the 2023 World Netball Cup legacy, which will be held in South Africa. This will be the first time for Africa to host the tournament.
Molokwane said South Africa decided to donate the two sprung floors World Netball offered for the competition, but are excess to requirements for the hosts.
She said: “I did not only announce the good news for Malawi, but also Kenya. With the legacy of 2023 World Cup Netball, Africa is getting two sprung floors which we cannot keep in South Africa. We have a lot of floors already.
“So, as Africa board, we decided to which countries to give them. We looked at Malawi and their performance in previous years and their ranking in the world.”
The African Netball president said the deal was done and Malawi as well as Kenya should prepare to meet cost of shipping to their respective countries.
“Once the floors are on the shores of South Africa, Malawi and Kenya have to see how they can take them,” she said.
Molokwane said the floor could generate money for Netball Association of Malawi through hiring out to other sport codes such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and karate.
“The floor must not be a white elephant. It must be utilised. The government must come in to ensure that the floor is maintained as it is not cheap. Malawi must also make sure that they bring people to South Africa to be trained on how they can maintain it,” she said.
NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala said they are grateful to South Africa for the the facility.
He said: “It’s a specially designed floor and has a cushioning effect. Very best for athletes’ knees and joints. It can be used for basketball and other sports besides netball.
“The floor will absorb the pressure when our athletes play as most of our venues have hard surfaces.”
Reacting to the development, netball analyst Wesley Namasala said: “It is extremely good news if the facility is put to its rightful use. Focus should be at the grass root level. A vibrant talent identification project is imperative for the smooth transition of the old guards to the youthful talent.”