By Tione Andsen

Malawi Government has funded MK200 million to implement youth football and netball talent selection programme in the country.

Director of Sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Jameson Ndalama disclosed this in Lilongwe at Kamuzu Institute for Sports during press briefing on Youth Football and Netball Talent selection programme.

He said the funding would cater for the first phase of talent identification exercise in football and netball for players which are under 20 from community set up.

Ndalama added that Ministry is using the mount as part of the 2018/2019 funding which would end by June 2019.

“After this first phase we will roll out for the second phase which will target primary schools in the exercise. The second phase will contribute on football and netball identification and other sporting disciplines like Athletics, women football, golf and hockey, chess, swimming will be taken on board,” the Director said.

He said the exercise aim at building a stand by players for the national teams for both netball and football in the country.

Ndalama added that the exercise was supped to start in March but due to logistical problems the commencement dates have been shifted and there is suggestion that it could be pushed further to pave way for the elections.

“We want to discuss this change of dates so that we should implement the exercise without breaking. We are planning to do the exercise within six weeks. We need to give two to three weeks for talent identifying in rural areas and districts, regional and national competition can be done within one week,” he explained.

He said talent identification officer need to use national identity cards when selecting players or use other identifying documents such as birth certificates, passports as one way of curbing age cheating during the exercise.

“Age cheating has been a common global problem which has been there for some time. Players are said to be cheating on their ages in order to fit into team in a particular competition. We need to eliminate this right from the grass root as we are indenting raw talents in various sporting teams,” Ndalama pointed out.

Chief Sports Officer in the Ministry, Joseph Mazaza said this talent identification and development is being organized to fill those gaps left by football and netball associations.

He said government has employed Football and Netball director on contractual basis for one year beginning from March 2019 as part of the process.

“In football and netball, associations have tried their best to raise performance of players at all levels but nothing is increasing performance of the teams.” Mazaza stated.

District Sport Officers, FAM Committee and Nam committee will work out together to form District select Football and Netball Teams using their own means and resources,

The District football select teams will be comprised of 20 players and seven officials and the netball team will be comprised of 15 players and five officials.

Each district will be provided with two footballs and two netballs to be used during selection of players.

Players in clubs playing in Super League are not allowed to participate in these games.