Malawi Queens have intensified their preparations in readiness of the African Netball Championship slated to kick-0ff on 23 June, 2013 at Blantyre Youth Centre in the commercial city of Malawi, Blantyre.
A visit by Nyasa Times to their training camp at College of Medicine, the players were in serious mood to sharpen their skills for the title.
The Queens led by Peace Chawinga-Kalua and Mary ‘Atcheya’ Waya as their coaches were beaming with confidence as they were doing their training.
However, missing in camp is Blue Eagles shooter Joyce Mvula, who is reported to be busy with her examinations.
Coach Peace Chawinga said the girls are responding well to the training and that they were geared for the tournament.
She said despite the absence of Mvula, Australian-based Mwawi Kumwenda and Linda Magombo; they have replacements in the likes of Sindi Simutowe and Jessica Mazengera, who are on top of their game.
Other notable players, who Malawi will be banking their hope are Caroline ‘Ayuda’ Ngwira, Beatrice Kadango, Tina Kamzati, Joana Kachilika and Bridget Kumwenda.
Meanwhile, Botswana national Netball team has arrived early in Malawi for the Africa Netball Champions almost a week before the competition starts.
Botswana has sent a 17-member squad list for the competition set to start on June 24 to 29.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary Carol Bapu said Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa are expected to arrive by Saturday.
“So far, these countries have confirmed their arrival dates and we can’t wait to welcome them,” she said.
Bapu also said there were doubts surrounding Uganda’s participation in the championship just as neighbouring Zambia, who had failed to raise a team because of financial problems.
The unruly weather, which has hit Southern Malawi and has not spared Blantyre, could affect the competition as they will be forced to play at Malawi College of Medicine Sports Complex and St Andrews High School with in-door courts.
Blantyre Youth Centre, which has been undergoing facelift to the tune of K9 million, cannot host the games in the prevailing rainy conditions in line with International Netball Federation rules.
The Nam GS said they were happy with the pace of renovations at Blantyre Youth Centre.
“The courts are almost done and awaits final touches while the stands would be ready soon,” she said.
In a related development netball supporters have volunteered to form a body to cheer on the team.
The supporters held a meeting at Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday where Mable Lwanda was elected chairperson of the committee.
Former Southern Region Netball Committee chairperson Florence Chakhadza was elected vice chairperson while Mathews Kasonjola was elected secretary with Mirriam Chisala as vice secretary.
Elemesi Kasema was elected treasurer and she will be deputised by Janet Phiri.
Maxwell Maluwa, Grace Kambalame and Elinah Ngosi are in disciplinary committee with Zamiwe Katumbi and Alice Ngwira being selected committee members.
Lwanda said they were ready to offer massive support to the Queens to inspire the side and its developmental side to victory.
“We have a role to play as the Malawi Queens seek to defend the championship. We want to support the team throughout the games,” she said.
“So far, we have started rehearsing new songs that will inspire our national team players. As supporters we need to take a positive role to boost the morale of the players.”
But the chairperson appealed for support from the corporate world to consider dressing the supporters.
“We want to T/shirts branded in our national flag’s colours. We hope that companies will help us,” she said.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary Carol Bapu welcomed the supporters committee saying it was timely and it would motivate the players.
“As hosts we need such structures to motivate our players to fight for honours,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :