The race for the Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) presidency is slowly but steadily heating up, following the emergence of the association’s former treasurer Abigail Shariff and ex-Queens skipper Emmie Waya-Chongwe to challenge incumbent Khungekile Matiya.
Matiya was the first candidate to declare her interest to defend the post ahead of the polls slated for Salima on May 29.
However, sources indicated that Shariff joined the race after some stakeholders approached her while Chongwe is also expected to contest, having laid groundwork for her campaign.
Chongwe, who is also a sister to legendary Queens attacker Mary Waya, said time was ripe to restore Malawi’s netball glory.
“I have been encouraged to contest for the post [Nam presidency] to help restore Malawi’s battered netball reputation. My manifesto is ready. Just to give you a preamble, I will first distribute bibs to teams that play organised netball in the country and also lobby government to build cemented netball courts next to football grounds in every district. This is the only way we can take the game to the rural areas among others,” Chongwe who skippered the Queens for 10 years said.
Chongwe said she had already engaged teams and some officials where she sold her manifesto which is yet to be launched.
On her part, Shariff, who is also a Member of Parliament for Zomba Likangala, said some netball stakeholders have been asking her to return to netball management as a president this time round.
“Calls for me to come back are numerous. I think it is time to do what people want. I will have talks with my family ove the matter but personally I am decided. I will respect views of the people,” she said.
However, Nam General Secretary Carlo Bapu refuted reports that she is also contesting on the post of president, having been barred by the constitution to defend her post for the third successive time.
“I am ruled out. I cannot contest because rules are clear on three successive terms. I have no plans to contest on the position of the president,” Bapu, who has served two successive terms said.
Meanwhile, Matiya said nomination forms for the May 29 elections have already been designed awaiting final touches.
“We will soon announce the opening day for submitting nominations as we are still working on the forms. This is the first time we are going to vote with affiliates nominating candidates,” she said.
It is yet not known whether there will be camps but campaigning is underway in all the three regions.
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.