Netball legend Mary Waya is making headway in her quest to unearth raw talent from the rural communities.
In the past week, the netball legend has spotted six youngsters aged between 13 and 17 from a netball clinic she conducted in Mangochi.
The exercise is part of the former Malawi Queens shooter’s mission to scout and polish at least 35 rural talents through her Mary Waya Netball Academy, which is supported by a K5 million sponsorship from Old Mutual Malawi.
Waya said at the end of her netball clinics in August, she will put the identified athletes into a national camp training for sometime before allowing big clubs such as Presidential Champions Diamonds, Complex Tigresses and Blue Eagles Sisters to pick their preferred players.
“So far, we have identified 18 players during the clinics I conducted for the past four months. I am hopeful to complete this search by August this year,” she said.
According to Waya, the academy has spotted five players each from Kasungu and Salima and two from Chikwawa.
“I will go to Phalula in Balaka this weekend before completing the exercise in Mwanza, Neno and Karonga,” she said.
Waya embarked on the exercise last year after noting that most elite netball clubs were not focusing on talent search in rural areas due to lack of funds.
Waya, who is also Malawi Queens head coach, started playing netball for a rural team in Mzuzu at the age of 11.
She has been playing for the national team for 25 years of her 33-year netball career. During her prime, she won several local and international awards, including the Netballer of Year Award on the now-defunct MBC Entertainer of the Year programme.