They may have brought back Malawi netball glory after winning bronze at the Fast5 World Netball Series, but the Malawi Queens have nothing in their bank accounts to show for it. They are yet to receive their game bonuses and allowances, over a month after their romantic flirtation with world netball touched new dizzying heights.
As the fans held their breath, the Queens punched beyond their weight to beat the world’s third-ranked side England in the final frantic moments to give the world a feel-good tale of the biblical little David that brought down the giant that was Goliath and finish third.
But for all their sweat for the cause of their motherland, they are yet to get their dues. Two players confided in Weekend Nation in separate interviews that they are disappointed with the delay to get their dues.
The Queens are owed K60 000 each for wins against England, Jamaica and South Africa, (K20 000 for a win) and local training allowances amounting to about K15 000 each (K1 000 each per day). They nevertheless received external allowances.
For 10 players, the game bonuses translate to K600 000 while the training allowances come up to about K150 000.
“We are disappointed because we had an assurance that we would get our dues upon our arrival from [Melbourne], Australia, but when we enquired we were just told to wait because Malawi National Council of Sports [MNCS] was still processing.
“But it’s now six weeks and nothing has come up, sizowonayi [this cannot be true]. We have every reason to worry because there have been instances in the past when it has taken months for the authorities to pay allowances,” she said.
Another player said they do not feel appreciated for their efforts.
“Being the first time to finish third at a global event, we felt our efforts would be appreciated. After all, we do not get that much. We fought from start to finish for the pride of our country, but in the end, this is what we are getting. It is as if we did not achieve anything,” she said.
The player also wondered why Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) is unable to supplement their allowances with donations they got from the corporate world.
Organisers of the event provided Queens with return air-tickets, accommodation and food but the team had to fend for themselves in terms of players’ allowances, training and paraphernalia.
Queens’ official sponsors Airtel Money pumped K14.4 million into the preparations before Illovo Sugar Company, Unicaf and Old Mutual added K2 million, K700 000 and K500 000, respectively.
But while confirming the development, NAM president Rosy Chinunda appealed to the Queens to remain patient as their allowances are being processed.
“I believe Sports Council was preoccupied with other engagements they had [such AU Region 5 Games], but they should not worry they will be paid soon,” she said.
However, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said it is NAM which is delaying the process.
“Yes, we have not paid as yet because we are still waiting for them to lodge the claim. Once they do that, we will,” he said.
On arrival from the Fast5, Airtel rewarded the Queens with K6 million, and earlier this week, President Peter Mutharika gave them K300 000 each. n