Central Region Netball Committee (CRNC) has secured a K2.5 million (about $3 365) sponsorship from Women Clinic, ending five years of lack of funding for the league.
Confirming the development in an interview on Tuesday, Lilongwe and Districts Netball League (LDNL) chairperson Charity Malanga and her CRNC counterpart Fanuel Katengeza described the deal as a new chapter for netball.
“We have gone through the most difficult years recently but now we are relieved to have this sponsorship,” he said.
Katengeza said they were expecting to launch the tournament on February 21 before the league kicks off next month.
He said they expect over 20 teams to compete with Blue Eagles Sisters and Civo Nets to win the inaugural title.
“Teams from Kasungu, Salima, and Ntcheu and of course Lilongwe have already expressed interest to take part in the competition,” he said, adding: “Further details about the deal will be unveiled at a press conference tomorrow [today].”
On her part, Malanga said: “This is a breath of fresh air as we have been struggling a lot since BioClincal Partners pulled out in 2011. We are excited and appreciative to Women Clinic for its gesture.”
She has since promised to exercise prudence in the way they handle the finances to retain sponsorship.
The region has never produced a champion in national tournaments which are usually dominated by teams from the Southern Region.
Some analysts have been citing the lack of sponsorship for the Central Region league as one of the factors for the clubs poor showing.
Meanwhile, Katengeza is optimistic that the sponsorship would make their teams active almost throughout the year, thereby being competitive during the national tournaments.
Reacting to the new sponsorship, Blue Eagles Sisters coach Sam Kanyenda said he was pleased that finally the region will have a sponsored league.n
Zakazaka, Namwera set for Nomads return
triker Jimmy Zakazaka is set to rejoin Be Forward Wanderers after resolving a contractual dispute which led to the Nomads demanding a K1.5 million (about $2 019) signing-on fee reimbursement from the player.
This was after he joined Botswana Defence Force XI on a two-year deal which he has since terminated.
In a related development, defender Foster Namwera is also set to rejoin the club following the expiry of his contract with a Mozambican top league side Ferroviario de Nampula.
The duo has since resumed training with the Nomads ahead of the 2016 season which is expected to roll into life on April 9.
“Jimmy is back to serve out the rest of his contract as you might be aware, there was a contractual dispute which has since been resolved.
“Foster is being assessed and yes, we are interested to get him on board. We need his experience and leadership and we just need to assess his fitness first,” said Butao.
Last month, the Nomads lodged a complaint to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) against Zakazaka for not honouring his promise to reimburse the signing-on fee as agreed after joining the Botswana club.
The Nomads then claimed that after signing a pre-contract, Zakazaka pocketed K1.5 million as part of the reported K1.8 million signing on fee.
Zakazaka on Tuesday confirmed his return to Lali Lubani Road.
“Yes, it is true I am back with Wanderers and the only issue left is my clearance from Botswana,” he said.