With few days remaining to the 2016 Airtel Money national finals throw-off in Lilongwe, Thunder Queens, one of the teams expected to feature at the finals is not certain on whether they will travel to Lilongwe or not for the games due to financial challenges, a problem that has affected the team since losing sponsorship to Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) a few years ago.
The development has worried players who instead of putting their heads up for the games are busy hunting for organizations and well wishers to rescue their situation.
According to the team’s captain Joana Kachilika, the situation is worrying players as they are not sure on whether they will take part in the finals or not. The national finals will be played from 19 to 21 May.
“We are not sure on whether we will take part in the competition or not. Our officials are trying their best to source funds for the trip. As players we are also trying our level best to help them. The total budget is K717 thousand and we are at zero now. Last week we had a fundraising big walk where we raised K30 thousand only. We have used all the money for transport and buying a few materials for the team,” said Kachilika who is also a Malawi netball team player.
Kachilika also hinted that most players are playing for the love of the team. She said the team can no longer attract promising talent with the current situation. However, she brushed aside fears of poor performance if they are to participate.
“We have a good crop of players who have vast experience. They know how important it is to win the competition or finish among the top three. We have proved that during the presidential cup where we finished among the top teams despite facing similar problems. We are appealing to companies and individuals to bail us out of this situation. We promise to do better,” Kachilika said.
Thunder Queens formerly MTL Queens is among the oldest teams in Malawi and has produced several stars of the game including current Queens Assistant Coach Mary Waya.
Despite losing the sponsorship, the team still contributes a lot of players to the Malawi netball team.
Apart from Kachilika, some of the current Thunder Queens players who play for the Malawi netball team are Thandi Galeta, Martha Dambo, and Sharo Kaiche.