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Kinnah Phiri, Mary Waya now directors in government

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

Mary Waya

Local sports icons Kinnah Phiri and Mary Waya have been offered year-long contracts to work in Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Ministry as directors of football and netball.

Line Minister, Grace Chiumia, Tuesday said Kinnah and Waya have worked for a month in the ministry.

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Kinnah and Waya were part of Chiumia’s delegation that graced Airtel Top 8 first-leg quarter-final match which saw Silver Strikers beating Be Forward Wanderers 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

Chiumia said the pair was expected to head football and netball academies, which the government will set up.

“We looked at their profiles and we felt that Kinnah was an expert in football and we want him to spearhead the talent identification exercise and nurture talent. Similarly, Mary is one of the greatest netballers the country has ever produced and we need her to do the same for netball,” she said.

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“Let us be honest, we haven’t been doing well in netball and football because we don’t have a good grassroots netball structure. So, the two will be working jointly with the schools, community sports officers as well as associations to spot talent and then groom it,” she said.

Chiumia said they intended to construct the academies once the next financial year starts next month.

Kinnah, who led the Flames to their second Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola in 2010, said he was excited to be part of football development.

“Yes, I have been here at the ministry for some weeks and I am looking forward to helping the country identify and sharpen talent,” said Kinnah who also led Nyasa Big Bullets [then Bakili Bullets] to the group stages of the Caf Champions League in 2004.

Waya, who had coaching stints in the United Kingdom and Tanzania among others, could neither confirm nor deny the appointment.

“I can’t comment for now,” she said.

Football analyst Higger Mkandawire described the appointment of Kinnah and Waya as a welcome development for domestic sports.

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