Malawi National Netball Team, the Queens, will miss this year’s Diamond Challenge after Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) failed to source K80 million funding, Malawi News Sport has learnt.
The development comes as Nam is also dillydallying in appointing Queens coach ahead of next year’s Netball World Cup scheduled for South Africa.
Analysts have since warned that the latest developments are recipe for disaster as both of Queens’ rivals, South Africa and Uganda, are busy taking part in international friendlies in readiness of the World showpiece.
Nam Vice President Chimwemwe Bakali, who is also the body’s spokesperson, confirmed that they had failed to secure funding hence their decision not to participate in the Diamond Challenge despite the organisers being willing to accommodate the team.
“We have no alternative but to not take part. We exhausted our subvention,” he said.
Diamond Challenge will be held in South Africa from November 19 to 21.
So far the hosts, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Scotland have confirmed their participation.
The tournament is crucial for teams that are on a rebuilding exercise.
Apparently, the Queens are without a coach following the expiry of contract for Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa.
On why Nam was yet to appoint Queens coach with time running out fast, Bakali said the process was almost through.
“We intend to announce the coach next week. The coach will be given a two-year contract. This is an interim arrangement as we are working on engaging a full time coach with the help of the government through the Malawi National Council of Sports,” he said.
Sources revealed that Chawinga-Kaluwa was favoured to continue heading Queens’ coaching panel.
Meanwhile, analysts have accused Nam of lacking seriousness after failing to source funding and delays in appointing Queens coach.
Netball analyst Lusekelo Kayuni said it was unfortunate that Nam fails to attach some sense of seriousness to the issue of coach and the entire technical panel.
“We know coaches are given targets and hiring one specifically to handle the team for World Cup is not ideal. The best was to identify a coach that would work with the team now and even beyond.
“Where we are now, we need to completely forget about any medals at the World Cup. Our focus should be to expose talent at the World Cup as we build a team. We really don’t have a team. It is very unfair even for the incoming coach to pick up from current status as we have dropped into a sorry state. All in all, hiring a temporary coach is in no way solution to our predicament,” she said.
Kayuni said delays in appointing a new coach compromises effective preparations for immediate and upcoming international competitions including the World Cup.
“The coach must come in now. The delays are putting the ‘to be appointed’ coach in a fix. They say practice makes perfect. We need the games to prepare for World Cup. Missing out on this one is a big issue as we are likely not to have teams interested to play us anymore,” she said.
Kayuni also said that Nam should have organised fundraising events rather than banking on the government alone for funding.
Former Queens player Neffie Kam’mata concurred with Kayuni, saying the Diamond Challenge would have helped the Queens to try youthful players.
“This was an ideal tournament to try out budding players. It is not surprising that the team will not go because up to now the issue surrounding the coach is yet to be resolved. The coach was supposed to be in office now to start making preparations for the upcoming events,” she said.
Kam’mata also advised Nam to be proactive by engaging in fundraising activities.
“There are a lot of activities that Nam could have done. The problem is that they rely on the government alone. Once the association finishes its funding, the officials sit idle waiting for another financial year.
“I believe if the association had sourced part of the required amount well-wishers and even the government could have come out to support them,” she said.
MNCS Public Relations and Communications Officer Edgar Ntulumbwa confirmed that Nam exhausted its funding.