The Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa Friday called on associations to come up with ways of investing in players’ welfare to cater for eventualities such as illness and injury.
He said this yesterday when he visited ailing netball legend Emma Mzagada at her home in Chilomoni Township, Blantyre.
He said as government, they will come up with a mandatory legal framework for associations and teams in terms of welfare for athletes/players.
“Associations and clubs need to be creative and come up with initiatives that could help active and retired players that are in need.
“It could be in form of a fund from the athletes’ contributions or indeed a portion of sponsorships and subventions.
“It could also be in form of insurance and medical cover. These things can be done by our associations if they organise themselves, it does not always require government’s assistance to make things happen. Government is there to provide a conducive environment,” said Mussa.
The minister said the aim of visiting Mzagada was to understand the situation before mapping the way forward.
“This issue was even raised in Parliament by UDF [United Democratic Front] shadow minister for sports and member of Parliament for Balaka Central East Yaumi Aufi Mpaweni and my coming was to appreciate the situation before we take the next step.
“She contributed a lot in putting Malawi on the map as a top netball player and in her time of need, we need to be there for her as a nation,” said Mussa who gave the former Queens goalshooter K200 000.
Mzagada said she could not hide her excitement when she heard about the minister’s visit.
“When I was briefed about your prospective visit yesterday [Thursday], I could not believe it and I hardly slept, I felt like time was dragging because I could not wait to brief you on the problems I am encountering.
“I am happy that you thought of coming to see me honourable and hopefully, you will intervene and see to it that I get the necessary treatment,” she said.
Briefing the minister, Mzagada’s sister Jessica Mtekama said the former netballer has been ill for seven years now.
“We have been to a couple of hospitals, including Queen Elizabeth, Mlambe and Chiradzulu. The main problem is a deep wound in her right-leg, which makes her immobile and is extremely painful. It [the wound] has penetrated to the bone and we were advised that she needs to undergo a surgery, but funding has been a problem.
“But with the minister’s intervention, we are hopeful that it will happen,” she said.