Malawi national netball team players, popularly known as The Queens, will now be getting equal allowances with the country’s national football team, The Flames, Sports Minister Enock Chihana announced on Thursday upon the Queens’ arrival from New Zealand.
Speaking at a special luncheon thrown in honour of The Queens at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, Chihana hailed the national netball team for beating World great teams such as Australia and England during the just ended Fast5 Netball tournament, which took place in Auckland, New Zealand.
“You have made us proud by beating the world giants although you lost to our archrivals, South Africa,” said the minister, adding: “I would like to assure you of government’s commitment towards the development of netball in Malawi; and I’d also like to announce that from now onwards your allowances will be equal to The Flames allowances.”
The Minister said it was very encouraging to note that despite lack of proper training facilities in the country The Queens continue to soar from glory to glory.
To this effect Chihana pledged that by 2013 the country’s netball team would have a standard and modern court in Lilongwe and another one in Blantyre.
With the minister’s announcement of allowance hike, the Queens will now be getting MK2, 000 each per training day from MK1, 000 and MK30, 000 each for a win from MK20, 000, according to Principle Secretary for Sports Justin Saidi.
Briefing the Minister on the Fast5 Tournament in New Zealand, The Queens’ coach Griffin Zagaro Saenda said The Queens had left a mark in New Zealand following a gallant fight they put up.
“We have achieved something very remarkable because by beating the world super powers in netball, namely Australia and England, we have proved to the world that we are a force to reckon with,” said Saenda.
The coach could not recognize Malawi’s loss to Jamaica saying Queens “were robbed in broad day light”.
“I want to emphasize here that the only team that the Queens has never beaten is New Zealand,” said Saenda, “because with Jamaica, they robbed us in broad day light by taking away our four points with no proper explanation.”
Netball Association of Malawi President Rose Chinunda described The Queens’ performance at the Fast5 tourney as very brilliant and exciting and that the team had come home satisfied and confident.
“The team we took to the tournament was made up of new faces but they displayed a very remarkable performance and when we beat England I almost collapsed because my blood pressure had gone up with excitement: it was just unbelievable,” said Chinunda, who also appealed to Government for more support.
The Queens finished on position 5 having beaten Australia and England respectively; but lost to New Zealand and narrowly missed victory over Jamaica by conceding 32 baskets to 31 while South Africa beat The Queens by 48-34.
The Queens captain Caroline Ngwira described the loss to South Africa as the most painful thing considering that the team lags behind The Queens in world ranking.
“On behalf of the entire team and on my own behalf I would like to promise the nation that next time we will do better than we have done today,” said Ngwira.
Despite finishing on the fifth position, The Queens continue to be on position 1 in Africa and on position five in the world.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :