Minister bails out basketball players
Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire on Saturday donated K662,000 to stranded Malawi National Basketball Team players, who were failing to travel back home.
The players were stuck at a lodge in Lilongwe following the cancellation of a trip to the Zone V1 AfroCan Basketball Tournament which gets underway today in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
But the minister called the players to his residence in Lilongwe and gave them personal money to return to their respective homes.
Mkandawire confirmed the development.
“I was really concerned with the welfare of the players. It was sad that, after investing time and resources, the trip was cancelled. To make matters worse, the players were even failing to go back to their homes due to lack of funds,” Mkandawire said.
After meeting the players, Mkandawire said his focus will be on developing all sporting disciplines in Malawi.
Malawi National Basketball Team Captain Madalitso Kadiwa hailed the minister for the timely gesture.
“We got a call from the minister that he was really concerned that the players were stranded at a lodge. He invited us to his residence, where he gave us money for transport. We appreciate his gesture,’’ Kadiwa said.
The players were shocked on Thursday night that the trip to Bulawayo had been cancelled due to lack of funds.
Basketball Association of Malawi General Secretary Peter Gomani was not readily available for a comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, the players have written Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) to assist in settling accommodation and food bills.
The players claim that they owe some service providers in Lilongwe about K1.5 million for the five days.