Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) President Khungekile Matiya has declared that she will defend her position when the country’s netball governing body goes to the polls next month.
Matiya ascended to the presidency some three years ago, taking over from long-time leader the late Rose Chinunda.
The Nam boss said she would like to continue leading the association, insisting that she still has plenty to offer to the game.
“My dream is to see the Queens finish in the top five during the 2023 World Cup to be played in South Africa. I have developed a plan to achieve this. This year, we will form a strong under-23 team which will be made up of players drawn from Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre.
“We will select 20 players from each region from where we shall have the best 12 to represent their regions at national level. This will give us the cream of netball talent drawn from all the three regions of the country,” Matiya said.
She said there would be initiatives to help the players gain experience.
“If I get elected again, I will dedicate my second year to strengthening and developing the team which will be identified this year. We will come up with dates for camping and playing matches to help the young players gain experience. One of such games could be against the senior team.
“We will also play Test Series against top teams on the IFNA [International Federation of Netball Associations] rankings. We will also need to identify top international tournaments where we can send three different under-23 teams. The target would also be to prepare these players for the Africa Netball Cup and Olympic Games,” Matiya said.
The veteran netball administrator has since drawn a roadmap that targets 2023 as an action year.
The roadmap starts with call-up of national team players for camp training in January for a Test Series.
The Queens will then play four test matches, with camping continuing in February before another round of Test Matches in March.
The final squad for the World Cup will then be named in April while May and July have been earmarked for the final camp training.
Meanwhile, former MBC Radiowomen and MTL Queens shooter Emmie Waya Tchongwe has vowed to challenge Matiya.
“I will contest for the highest office in the country’s netball circles. My experience as a former netballer will help me to deliver because I know what exactly needs to be done to develop the game. I will target areas where the current administration has not done well to woo votes.
“Our netball needs to wake up from its deep slumber. We are slowly losing track. We lost our identity many years ago. We are no longer a powerhouse in Africa. Teams like South Africa and Uganda have overtaken us because we have not done enough in terms of strengthening youth teams and scouting for new talent,” Tchongwe said.
Nam General Secretary Carol Bapu said she is yet to decide on defending her post.
“I have not yet made up my mind whether to contest or not. Allow me to consult further,” Bapu said in a brief response.
Nam elections draw over 50 delegates who include 34 voters from district committees, six Nam officials and two officials who represent teams. The list is completed by the contestants themselves.
The number is expected to rise as the media, returning officers and other observers are also expected to be in attendance.
It is yet to be seen if the government will have lifted the ban on gatherings involving over 50 people by then.
President Lazarus Chakwera announced the ban as one of the measures aimed at stopping the spread of Covid in the country.
The term of office for the current Nam executive committee expires on March 31.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.