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Former Athletics Association of Malawi boss spits at ‘Varsities

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Former Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) president, Richard Nyirongo, has partly blamed the country’s deteriorating sports standards on lack of sports structure in tertiary education institutions.

Nyirongo on Tuesday said it was sad that most education institutions in the country lack well-established sports departments.

“Our tertiary education institutions should act as centres of excellence for all sports disciplines. Other countries are doing it. We can also do it. The best athletes should be coming from our universities,” he noted.

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Nyirongo observed that since late Rueben Malola, Malawi has not had any graduate football coaches to inspire students and players that education and sports can go together.

He said domestic sports lack role models.

“Does it not surprise you that 51 years of Independence have not won us anything meaningful in sports? Countries that are not far from ours like Zambia and South Africa have won continental titles. Others like Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania win medals in international tournaments. So what is wrong with us?” he wondered.

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The Chancellor College senior lecturer, then disclosed that he would conduct a research on why sports is not being taken seriously in tertiary education institutions in Malawi.

“In those days, we used to see University Football Club qualifying for cup finals. Polytechnic, Bunda and Chanco were all very strong and competitive teams. But why are they no longer competing? Should it only be Mzuni?” he concluded.

Malawi has been a perennial underachiever in most sporting disciplines, save for the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in football that was won on three occasions–1978, 1979 and 1988.

Netball has put Malawi on the world map, but the Malawi Queens struggle to break into the top-five on the world ranking.

The biggest achievers on the international stage for the country are South Africa-based boxer, Isaac Chilemba and New Zealand-based netballer Mwawi Kumwenda who have won several world titles.

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