By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi national netball team’s preparations for next month’s World Cup in the United Kingdom have been thrown into turmoil following revelations that the government is yet to release funds.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) reportedly sanctioned the camp training at Blantyre Youth Centre using borrowed money as the government promised to release over K100 million.
It is now three weeks since the Queens went into full-time camp ahead of the competition scheduled for July 12 to 21 2019 in Liverpool.
Nam President, Khungekile Matiya, said they were panicking as the government was not forthcoming with the funds.
“As it is, we can’t say when we are leaving [for the United Kingdom] as we don’t know whether the government would release funds for the World Cup. As of now, we have been taken to task by a certain pharmacy which supplied medicine as we couldn’t go into camp without medical essentials,” she said.Advertisement
Matiya said they have been pursuing the matter with the government and Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) with little success.
“The two haven’t been forthcoming and we don’t know if the trip is on.
“All things being equal, we are, at least, supposed to leave on Saturday,” she said.
However, Sports Council acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, contradicted Matiya, saying the government released part of the funds to enable the Queens start residential camping.
“Queens funding is coming in different chunks because the association exhausted its annual subvention. The government released about K22 million to cater for essentials like visas and local camping. The other chunk will surely be released and basically, it has to do with allowances,” he said.
Meanwhile, Queens Coach, Griffin Saenda Senior, who is also Kukoma Diamonds mentor, has promised to select his final World Cup squad on merit.
“I will select 12 players to feature for the Queens at the World Cup together with my assistant Whyte Mulilima. I am neither going for names nor favouring players from Diamonds. The players have been outstanding and it would be difficult naming the final squad,” he said.
Queens, who are ranked sixth in the world and second in Africa, face New Zealand (July 12), Singapore (July 13) and Barbados (July 14) at the World Cup.
Two courts of M&S Arena in Liverpool will host the tournament involving 16 countries including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda and defending champions Australia.
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