Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda has instructed Malawi National Council of Sports to adjust upwards the Queens allowances.
He said this following the Queens’ impressive performance in the just-concluded Cosana Tri-Nations Cup which they won unbeaten.
The Queens have, for the past two years, been getting K5 000 as daily training and camping allowance.
They also receive game bonus of K50 000 for a win, K25 000 for a draw and $60 (about K60 000) as daily external travel allowance.
The amounts are in sharp contrast to those of the Flames who receive K500 000 each for a win in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers, K300 000 for a win in regional competitions such as Cosafa Cup and K200 000 for a victory friendly matches.
After watching the Queens’ perfomance at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes) Sports Complex in Blantyre, Chimwendo-Banda said the ladies deserve better.
He said: “I think we have not done justice to the Queens. They have always done us proud, but we have not supported them enough as we do with football. Of course the demands are different, but that does not mean netball should suffer.”
“I am told that they get K5 000 as training allowance and K50 000 for a win in a tournament like this one. To be honest, things have changed and the value may not be the same as it used to. We will quickly look into that.”
The minister said his ministry will instruct Malawi National Council of Sports to immediately adjust upwards the allowances.
He said: “President Lazarus Chakwera expressed how happy he and the First Lady Monica Chakwela are to see the Queens doing.”
Queens captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Netball Association of Malawi president Abigail Shariff yesterday applauded the minister for his move.
Said Mtukule-Ngwira: “It is frustrating that we get peanuts despite putting the country on the map. In fact, we are the least paid national team in the world. The minister’s move is a big motivation to us players.”
She said they hope that the corporate world will also consider motivating the Queens with various incentives as is the case with the Flames.
Mtukule-Ngwira said: “It pains us to see that only national football team players are promised things such as plots for winning, yet the same cannot be done for us.
“I believe there should be mind-set change among the corporate world and other well-wishers. If we get enough motivation, we will be able to inspire a lot of girls to take netball seriously.”
On her part, Shariff said: “We are grateful to the government for this gesture. The incentives will help our player to enhance their performance.”
The Queens have won the tournament with 12 points , having beaten Namibia 49-36, 77-25 and 60-23 and Zimbabwe’s Gems 47-35, 45-23 and 63-34.