By Edwin Mbewe
LILONGWE-(Maravipost)-Lack of junior netball leagues in the country said to have compromised the transition of players to the national teams hence relying on the same old guns.
This has been revealed by Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general Secretary on Saturday during the launch of the long awaited MK24 million MPICO Gateway netball league in the Malawi’ central region.
Chimwala hence expressed gratitude for the return of the league, highlighting its crucial role in the development of netball in the country.
He emphasized that the absence of the league for several years had adversely affected the transition process for the Malawi Netball team, resulting in the prolonged use of the same players.
“Developing world-class players requires a long-term process, typically spanning a minimum of three years.
However, with the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2019, sports activities were suspended until around 2021, preventing players from training and disrupting our talent development plans,” Chimwala explained.
“The lack of feeder leagues during this period created numerous challenges for our national team, as we were unable to nurture new talent. Consequently, we have been struggling to identify athletes who can compete at the highest level, leading to a reliance on the same old players.
The introduction of the MPICO league in the central region will assist our technical panel in scouting players, as all games will be played at the Gateway Mall court,” Chimwala added.
Chimwala further urged participating teams to consider incorporating young talent into their squads.
Emanuel Bambe, the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, who served as the guest of honor during the launch, commended MPICO for reinstating their sponsorship.
“Having a partner like MPICO group of companies is an added advantage for us as a ministry, as they complement the government’s efforts in nurturing talent and promoting physical fitness among our youth.
“The league will play a significant role in the transition of Malawi’s national netball teams. Therefore, I appeal to the central region committee to administer the league with professionalism and dedication,” Bambe said.
Elliott Jambo, Head of Property Services at MPICO PLC, expressed the company’s excitement about returning to support the league after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This initiative aims to complement the government’s sports development efforts and create an enabling environment for girls to thrive, empowering them through netball.
“Since its inception, the Gateway Netball Challenge has achieved significant milestones and made a lasting impact on netball players and the sport itself,” Jambo remarked.
During the launch games, the young Eagles from area 30 emerged victorious, defeating Immigration 40-13, while Adorable Queens secured a resounding 57-11 win over KIA Sisters.
In a closely contested match, Lioness narrowly defeated Boma Stars netball team with a score of 37-35.
The MK24 million Central Region Netball League is scheduled to run until November