Malawi national netball team, the Queens have arrived back home from Melbourne, Australia, where they landed a historic bronze medal at the just ended World Netball Fast 5 series.
Welcoming the Queens at Kamuzu International (Kia) were officials from Ministry of Youth, Labour, Sports and Manpower Development led by director of sports Jameson Ndalama, Sports Council and Netball Association of Malaw officials and Queens sponsors Airtel Malawi.
Unlike the previous occasion when scores of people led by First Lasy Getrude Mutharika gathered at Kia VIP lounge to welcome the Queens, the mood was rather subdued this time round as not even Sports Minister Henry Mussa was present.
The Minister is reportedly out of the country on official duties while the First Lady is in China.
The absence of the top government officials watered down the welcoming party as there was no arrangement for the Queens to use the VIP lounge as has been the case before.
However, after discussions involving Airtel, the government officials present and airport authories, a decision to accord the Queens VIP reception was made after the Queens had already landed.
Addressing the Queens at the airport, Ndalama conveyed a congratulatory message from the Minister to the Queens for going beyond expectations by breaking into the top three.
“When Airtel was presenting a K14.4m cheque to the Queens ahead of the trip, we set you a target to break into the top four but you have challenged us by bringing bronze. This is no mean achievement and we are proud of you,” said Ndalama.
Airtel Malawi marketing manager Emmanuel Kasambara expressed happines that the K360m investment by the company into netball was now bearing fruits.
“Netball is the only key sport that has put Malawi on the world map. There is so much potential in netball and we don’t see anything that can stop you from becoming world champions.
Leader of the Queens delegation Chimwemwe Kachingwe and team captain Grace Mwafulirwa Mhango hailed government and Airtel for the support rendered to the Queens and the warm reception.
After the airport reception, Queens were driven in an open double dec bus to Capital Hotel, where they were treated to a luncheon by Airtel.
At the luncheon, Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto announced a K6m bonus to the Queens for breaking into the top three.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :