Local government and rural development minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa has said sports play a great role in people’s life as it keeps them healthy and active besides promoting love and unity among the people and communities.
“We can have a healthy mind only when we have a healthy body. Great achievements come our way when we maintain our physical and mental well-being,” said Nankhumwa during the K3 million ‘Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa chiefs’ trophy football and netball finals, which were played on Sunday, October 14, at Chisitu primary school ground in his Mulanje central constituency.
In the chiefs’ football finals, Bale United outclassed Old Lions, beating them 4-2. They went away with K350 000 cash and a trophy. In women’s netball, Nankhumwa Queens emerged champions against Chikumbu Queens and got away with K250 000 cash and a trophy.
According to Nankhumwa, the chiefs’ trophy, which will return next year, is designed to pull together all chiefs in his Mulanje central and Mulanje Bale constituencies, which fall under senior chief Chikumbu in the district so that as they participate in sports, they can also mingle and discuss various social and economic issues affecting their communities.
“This idea originally originated from the chiefs themselves. They thought that as a way of maintaining physical and mental fitness, they must organize sport competitions, in form of football and netball, and compete amongst themselves.
“As MP for this area, I welcomed the idea and I came in with the financial and material aspect of the initiative,” said Nankhumwa, who was accompanied at the event by senior chief Chikumbu and Mulanje district council officials, among others.
He observed that “indeed, sport is a universal language” that brings people together.
“Apart from being a great source of entertainment, sports can be instrumental in uniting people regardless their origin, background, religious beliefs, race or economic status,” he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president responsible for southern region and also Leader of Government Business in Parliament, announced that he would soon launch a primary schools football and netball tournament in his constituency.
“All primary schools must get ready to participate in this competition. Unless we make deliberate efforts increase participation at the grassroots level in football, netball and other sports disciplines, we will continue to lag behind as a country.
“The Flames shall be among perpetual punching bags in the region and Africa as a whole if we do not develop football at the grassroots level as a matter of urgency,” he said, adding, however, that he wished Malawi national football team, the Flames good luck when they engage the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday, in an Africa Cup of Nations return leg qualifier.
He said as a way of developing sport from the grassroots level, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika had directed that all districts in the country must have state-of-the-art stadiums. Already, several stadiums have been constructed in Mulanje, Karonga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Rhumphi, Mzimba, Thyolo and Kasungu, among others.
Senior chief Chikumbu and Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for Mulanje District Council, Emmanuel Bulukutu, expressed gratitude to Nankhumwa for his tireless efforts to develop sports in his constituency.
“Apart from helping us in sports development, you have also been most instrumental in changing the general livelihood of this people in this area. We’ve seen unprecedented social and economic transformation in this area. You therefore deserve another term as MP come elections in May 2019,” said senior chief Chikumbu.
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