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First Lady trains with Malawi Queens

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FIRST Lady Gertrude Mutharika on Friday paid a surprise visit to Malawi National Netball Team’s training at the Blantyre Youth Center.

The Queens are in camp ahead of the Africa Netball Championship to be held in Uganda from June 24-30.

The tournament will also serve as a qualifying event for next year’s Commonwealth Games to be hosted by the Australian city of Gold Coast.

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Mutharika turned up at the netball venue fully dressed in Queens’ training kit and joined the players in their drills.

Addressing the team after the training session, the former Balaka parliamentarian said her visit was aimed at boosting the players’ morale ahead of the continental showpiece.

“I heard that you are in camp, so I decided to come and cheer you up. You should know that netball does well for Malawi in big international competitions. As your patron, I would like to let you know that the nation is proud of you. Continue working hard and doing the nation proud. We are all solidly behind you,” said Mutharika.

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She then presented some hampers to the 23 players and officials who are in camp.

Coach Griffin Saenda commended the First Lady for the visit, describing it as a pleasant surprise and a huge morale booster for the team.

“We are very happy that the First Lady has paid us this surprise visit. This is happening for the first time in the history of netball in the country and we are very grateful to her. It just shows her love for the team,” Saenda said.

Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary, Carol Bapu, also commended Mutharika for the visit.

The Queens will go to Uganda without three key players who are not in camp for various reasons.

Australia-based Mwawi Kumwenda who plays for Melbourne Vixens, Queens vice captain Grace Mwafulirwa- Mhango (Tigresses) and centre Takondwa Lwazi of Blue Eagles Sisters are the players Malawi will have to do without.

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