Netball, football out of Angola Games
Football, netball and swimming will, due to budgetary constraints, be excluded from this year’s edition of an international youth competition called Region Five Games.
Formerly Zone VI Youth Games, the competition is scheduled for Angola in December when Southern Africa’s cream of Under-20 athletes are expected to showcase their talent.
Malawi National Council of Sports has budgeted for the event K130 million, which covers uniforms, air tickets, accommodation, meals, participation fees, medical insurance, visas and allowances.
The council’s Sports Development Sports Officer, Ruth Mzengo, said the exclusion of the three disciplines was a strategic decision.
“Our budget is tight so we had to think about sport codes that can increase our opportunities to get more medals. We felt that football and netball, being team sports, can only get us a medal each. The two did not fit into our plans. On the other hand, swimming has been failing to get us good results in previous competitions,” Mzunga explained.
Mzengo said the council had tentatively selected judo, boxing, athletics and lawn tennis to star for Team Malawi in Angola.
She said athletes from the four sport codes were undergoing special training dubbed Podium Performance Programme (PPP) at Sports Complex High Performance Centre ahead of the games.
“We would rather take few athletes and enhance our chances of winning medals than a bloated squad,” she said.
Ironically, the three disciplines were part of Malawi’s Team that participated in the last four editions of the games.
In 2008, the junior Flames, despite having only 11 eligible players, won a gold medal in South Africa, where the netball team was disqualified for lacking birth certificates.
Two years later in Swaziland, Malawi Under-20 netball team won a gold medal, and in 2012, they got silver in Zambia.
Then the netball team missed the last event held in Zimbabwe in 2014 after Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) failed to process players’ accreditations in time.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary, Sugzo Nyirenda and his Nam counterpart, Carol Bapu, said they were waiting for official communication about the exclusion of football and netball.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues