President Aurther Peter Mutharika on Monday hosted the Malawi Queens national netball team to a luncheon at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre to congratulate them for their historic third-place finish at the 2016 Fast5 World.
The president gave each of the 16-member delegation that travelled to Melbourne K300 000 and a Christmas hamper.
The President, who was in the company of the First Lady Gertrude Mutharika, who is also the Queens’ patron, said he was pleased to host the Queens after their defining accomplishment at the tournament.
“Personally, I am very excited and I feel greatly honoured and I would like to thank you for making Malawi proud.
“[Your achievement has given us global visibility and we are proud of you,” he said.
“The Queens showcased an extraordinary achievement and it is a lesson to all Malawians to believe in themselves and be confident in whatever they do,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika called upon Malawians to support all sporting activities as they have a lot of benefits to their health which is important to national development.
But Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda told the Malawi leader that despite the Queens’ good performance, netball is facing a number of challenges especially limited funding and lack of proper facilities.
“Our court is rough as it is made of concrete such that we cannot host big events. Furthermore, under 21 teams around the continent are in Angola playing but because of funding issues, our under 21 netball team has failed to participate,” she lamented.
Mutharika said he will take the issues with the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development “to see what can be done.”
Team Manager, Jane Kachali commended the team for playing the Fast 5 with competitive spirit by fighting hard and defeating star teams.
“The Queens left Malawi on position 6 but came back position 3; they went there to compete not to participate. We are still hungry for position one and with the President’s support, we will make it,” she said.