Pride of Malawi: Queens jet in to a heroines’ welcome, pictorial

Malawi Netball Queens Tuesday, August 18, 2015 arrived back home from the just ended Sydney World Netball Cup tournament to a heroines’ welcome when they were treated to a VVIP reception by the country’s First Lady Madam Getrude Mutharika at Kamuzu International Airport (Kia) before being hosted to a luncheon by sponsors Airtel Malawi at Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe.

First Lady greets one of the players

First Lady greets one of the players

Queens board the limo

Queens board the limo

Queens get out of the limo

Queens get out of the limo

Mwai shows off her trophy with First Lady

Mwai shows off her trophy with First Lady

Queens pose with officials from govt, Airtel and the Friends of Queens

Queens pose with officials from govt, Airtel and the Friends of Queens

Chalamba (far left) presents the cheque to the Queens

Chalamba (far left) presents the cheque to the Queens

Queens enjoy Airtel luncheon

Queens enjoy Airtel luncheon

The Friends of Queens

The Friends of Queens

It was just one of the rare moments for the Queens- dubbed the Pride of Malawi, who never anticipated to find the First Lady waiting for them at the airport.

According to coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua, the Queens only knew about Mutharika’s presence at the airport when they saw her from windows of the South African Airways aeroplane that brought them home.

They reportedly started dancing after noticing the First Lady.

As the girls and their officials came off the plane, Mutharika, in the company of Sports and Culture Minister Grace Obama Chiumia hugged each of them and presented flowers to every member of the delegation before addressing Queens at the airport’s VVIP Conference Hall.

“You are our pride,” said the First Lady.

“We followed your games in Sydney and I remember one day when we were having a Beautiful Women, Beautiful Malawi function at State House, we had to pause and watch you beating one of your opponents. We all cheered and danced,” recalled Mutharika.

The First Lady assured the Queens of her full support.

“Today, I just wanted it to be a surprise. I did not announce that I will be coming to welcome you. But be assured, I will be there for you. Whatever you need, I will be ready to assist,” she said, attracting loud cheers from the gathering.

Taking her turn, Chiumia hailed the First Lady for coming to welcome the Queens in person.

“I too did not know that you were coming and was surprised to see the red carpet. You are the first First Lady to do this and your presence is a big motivation to the girls. Although we did not make it into the top five, the Queens were the highest scoring team,” said Chiumia.

Airtel’s Sponsorship and Public Relations Manager Edith Tsirizani described the First Lady’s presence as a sweet surprise.

“Just like the First Lady has demonstrated, Airtel too trusts and believes in the girls. We always feel encouraged to move on and support the girls as they keep raising the Malawi flag higher,” said Tsirizani.

As the Queens left the VVIP Conference Room, they met another surprise outside when they found a state-of-the- art Hummer Limousine waiting to fetch them to town.

The Limo was provided by the Friends-of-Queens’ group, which added pomp to the welcoming party.

The Queens’ Limo joined the First Lady’s convoy as the procession headed for Ufulu Gardens via Area 18 Round-about and City Centre. Mutharika’s escorted the Queens all the way to Ufulu Gardens before bidding them farewell.

Before being hosted to the Airtel luncheon, the Queens had a brief audience with the Friends-of-Queens, who presented a cheque worth K1.7 million to the team.

Chairperson of the grouping Hlupikire Chalamba, who is also Airtel’s Legal Counsel and Company Secretary, said the money would be shared amongst the players, their two coaches and team doctor with each of them expected to pocket K180,000.

“We went all over the country and contacted some Malawians abroad soliciting donations for the Queens. Apart from the cash, one of the members of our group, Mike Msungama provided his Limousine to pick the Queens from the airport. This is only the beginning and we are planning big for the team,” said Chalamba, a cousin to Mwayi Kumwenda.

Speaking during the luncheon, Airtel Chief Commercial Officer Charles Kamoto said much as the Queens did not break into the top four, their performance and team spirit was encouraging.

“You were focused and showed great hunger for success. The commentators were full of praise for team Malawi.

“In order to inspire you to move to greater heights, Mr Money has decided to reward you with K1.8 million to be shared amongst the 18-members of the contingent that travelled to Australia,” said Kamoto, attracting another round of applause from the Queens.

Captain of the side Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira was all thanks for the gestures from Airtel, Friends of Queens and government.

“This is the first time we have been accorded such a reception and it is like a dream. We know we have not achieved what the nation wanted but this is going to inspire us to do even better next time,” said Mtukule.

Nam president Rosy Chinunda said although the team lost its fifth position to continental rivals South Africa, the Queens still deserved a pat on the back, having produced the best player of the tournament and scored the highest number of goals.

Chiumia announced at the luncheon that the First Lady was preparing something big for the Queens.

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John Paul
Guest

Producing best player and scoring more goals is not a trophy. Ndati tingokumbusana mai Chinunda, komanso ngati Malawi yalephera kutenga chikho vuto ndi ma officials a NAM. Stupid…

YOHANE HELMON JNR
Guest

WE ARE PROUD OF YOU MA QUEENS,KEEP IT UP

Naaah
Guest

She should build an Arena ;that will be big surprise for the queens.

Fury Road
Guest

Once the government will offer something to these ladies,some one will say ‘why not assisting the poor people,the hospitals bla- bla- bla. Now you are busy castigating the government for not doing something tangible to the Queens so far.Trying to understand malawian is the only way to madness!!!! ‘See my name’

AK
Guest

Anyamata anthu akupita ku Swaziland ndipo akakapambana muzachitenso chonchi anthu a Mulungu. A first lady tsopanotu mukuvala bwino monga mai mfumu weniweni.Osati zija mudavala mutaima ndi first lady wa ku America ku America komweko. Mpaka national wear ya chitenje yofika mpaka m’mapazi, national wear ya nyakula mai. Mwaponda pati anzathu kapena cashgate yayamba kuyenda. hahhahahahahahahahaha

Katong'ongo
Guest
Quick-fire facts to consider: – 1. Let’s stop politicizing everything by lying to the nation that it was a surprise welcome by the first lady when in actual fact it was a well calculated move by Grace Chiumia and her master to seize the opportunity for their political propaganda. All along we know Malawian politicians stage some events to dupe those with low IQ who can’t read between the lines. This time around, DPP cadres are busy canvassing for support instead of governing the country while 2019 is still a long way to go. 2. Let’s not just criticise and… Read more »
Chikadza Kuwani
Guest

Zikomo kwambiri Friends of the Queens, Airtel and Madame First Lady. In particular to Mr. Msungama for the expensive machine provided. It made the reception very exciting and befitting the heroic and beautiful queens. Ma Queens you are our pride! Tamvananu kukoma kwambiri.

kate
Guest

WEDONE MADAM APM. KOMA SIYANI JUVALA MA GOGOSI SAKUKHALANI. AMENEWO MUMUSIYIRE MKAZI WA VP. YEWO.

Kalimaasamu
Guest

We r proud of u our queens welcom

Hitler
Guest

A Airtel nanu mwapala. Mukukawapangila phwando azimayiwa asanapume bwino bwino komanso asanasambe. Mukanawapatsa kaye m’pata kuti apume. I’m just thinking.

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