Basketball players camp nightmare
The Malawi National Basketball Team was subjected to poor camping conditions before Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) withdrew the team from Zone VI AfriCan qualifiers expected to start on Monday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Malawi News Sport can reveal that members of the team were frustrated due to the poor camping conditions as Basmal struggled to secure funding for the trip.
The crisis signifies lack of seriousness among sports administrators in the country to motivate athletes to perform well in both local and international competitions.
Our findings include that the players, who went into residential camp on Monday at one of the lodges in Lilongwe, went through hell.
The players were buying food from some open restaurants at a popular drinking place called Bwandilo.
This was due to the fact that Basmal was apparently failing to provide food for the team.
Occasionally, the association was providing lunch but the players were using their own money to buy food on daily basis.
That is not all, the players were sometimes surviving on one meal a day due to lack of funds. Several players, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, said the situation was frustrating.
“Imagine two players sleeping on a three-quarter bed. Since, we started camp, there were several challenges,” one player said.
Basmal General Secretary Peter Gomani admitted that all was not rosy in camp.
“We had several changes due to lack of resources. But we tried our best to prioritise the welfare of the players. It is unfortunate that things were not as we wanted,” Gomani said.
Gomani disclosed that each of the players was given K6,000 a day for breakfast and supper as the association was providing lunch.
The players were supposed to be released from camp yesterday. But they were locked in a meeting with Basmal officials as they were demanding their dues.
Malawi National Basketball Team Coach Griffin Kalua was disappointed with the team’s withdrawal from the competition.
“I feel for my players. I just wish there was a way out for them to showcase their talent on this stage,” Kalua said.
Basmal announced on Thursday night that the team would not take part in the tournament due to lack of funds.
The squad was expected to make a return on the international stage for the first time in over a decade.
Malawi National Council of Sports Public Relations Officer Edgar Ntulumbwa said Basmal requested for over K50 million for the trip to Zimbabwe.
“We received a request from Basmal but in the 2022 budget, there was no allocation for the basketball national team. We engaged the authorities to consider providing funds to enable the team travel to Zimbabwe,” he said.