If you look at the pomp and funfair the Malawi National Netball Team was received with, you would easily think the team had just won some very important trophy. But the ugly truth, which most people will not love to hear, is that the team had just returned from another low outing.
At the Kamuzu International Airport, the Queens were given a warm welcome before being treated to a lavish luncheon upon arrival from the netball world cup in Australia.
If you are a stranger in the netball world, here is what happened. After some false start and flattering wins against almost nonexistent teams like Sri Lanka and Uganda, the Queens ended up failing to spine up to teams like New Zealand, Jamaica and eventually South Africa which ultimately saw them finishing on a disappointing sixth position on world netball ranking.
Now, the fact of the matter is that it is far too easy to be in the top ten of rankings when it comes to netball unlike in football. In football one needs to deal with serious competition to be mentioned in the same breath as the top ten teams of the world.
What our good Queens did in Australia was simply to confirm their relegation from position five to six in the world. But back home, people were over the moon celebrating what they called and still call an achievement. But I am not very much surprised that we are celebrating the Queens’ mediocre performance since I know we are a nation that has set its standards too low and, as a people, we are too desperate to find anything that will give us even a fake moment of pride.
Sometime back, the Ivory Coast gave us a perfect example of how to treat people who wrongly carry a nation’s flag. After a bad tournament, the Ivory Coast football team was made to have a military parade as punishment for shaming the nation. After that, the team has emerged as one of the powerhouses of African Football. But it is different here at home. When a team fails—for instance dropping from position five to six—the whole first lady, minister of sports and fans make sure they give that team a ceremonious welcome that should otherwise be given to heroes returning home after some triumph.
Not long ago, the Queens’ miserable brothers, the Flames, went to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup where they too ended up cartooning themselves. All they had to bring back home was a certificate of their failure which we all know now as the Cosafa Plate.
What beats me is that, people were too generous, just as now with the Queens, to give the Flames a grand welcome even when all they brought home was evidence of their traditional failure.
What I am simply saying is that as a nation we are too accustomed to failing such that we glorify and celebrate things that simply remind us how terrible we are.
As I am saying now, some people will seriously get mad at me and dismiss me as a certified pessimist simply because I have refused to be part of those partying and making merry at the Queens’ measly showing in Australia.
Without mincing words, the Queens are on a downward spiral and must be jerked into action other than being given laurels.
This reminds me of something very important. Since we are used to raw deals, we even fail to notice small things that matter to our existence.
Just two days ago, a friend gave me evidence how we are moving steadily in reverse as a nation.
Some of the evidence that is there for all of us to see are simple things like how we cannot afford to have streets lights even in the most dangerous of streets, how our city councils just can’t collect waste and how we pamper our presidents for doing things they are just expected to do.
Most of us just do not have interest in this country’s affairs and we end up being too timid to say what is wrong about and with us. Our priorities are simply put in reverse and we take it as the norm.
Look here, we get the courage and encouragement to demonstrate against trivial issues when we fail to press government on important issues like making drugs, water, education and electricity available for all. Those who choose to demand such things are perceived as perverts and disturbances of the society’s peaceful and calm existence.
If I have lost my way, let me return to the subject at hand. I am a very sad and angered person upon realising that we do not take national issues seriously and that we are used to failure as exemplifies by the Queens.
If becoming number six from number five is what we strive for as a country then we are damned losers.
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