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Malawi Queens funding in doubt

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BY MPHATSO MALIDADI:

The Malawi national netball team, ranked 6th in the world, is facing financial problems.

Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, questioned the credentials of some coaching panel members that were at the helm when the Queens sank to an all-time low after finishing on position seven during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

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His remarks might have targeted acting Coach Whyte Mulilima and Physical Fitness Trainer Griffin Saenda Junior.

Kasaila said it does not make sense for the government to release funds when the senior side will travel to the championship in Lusaka, Zambia, next month to simply participate and not compete.

“The government has always supported the Queens. The question is ‘are we going there to compete or participate?’ When we went to Australia for the Commonwealth Games I would say to participate, we noticed some technical challenges by the people who are supposed to help the Queens [players]. In simpler terms, we didn’t have a coach.

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The technical panel was not right.

“The question is; have they put that in order? Before they ask for money to participate elsewhere, I would like to know if we have a coach who is competent; qualified to lead the team. These are the questions that I need answers [on]. It is not just a question of asking for money. I want to make sure that if they are going elsewhere, they are going there to compete and not just participate,” he said.

Kasaila’s upshot comes barely a week after he also hit at Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) officials for focusing too much on travelling instead of developing netball.

Nam is yet to come clearly on who would be in-charge of the senior side, following last minute changes that rocked the team.

Mulilima of Civonents took charge of the Queens during the ill-fated Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in absence of Griffin Saenda senior who was advised not travel on doctors’ recommendation.

Saenda’s son, Griffin junior, also made the trip as an assistant coach despite being more conversant with football than netball. He doubles as coach for FMB Under-20 champions, Griffin Young Stars and Kukoma Diamonds where he is a fitness trainer.

Nam General Secretrary, Carol Bapu, said the association cannot comment on the issues through the media but it will follow the right channel.

Nam presented a budget of K80 million to the government to cater for the preparation of the continental showpiece.

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