One of the packages of the monumental K600 million sponsorship partnership between the Rach Family Trust, Netball Association (Nam) and the Ministry of Sports, is that of constructing an indoor netball court and the Minister Henry Mussa has pledged that he shall make sure he has his hands on to make sure the project materialises.
At the official signing ceremony of the contract in Lilongwe on Friday, the Minister ordered the project’s coordinators to report direct to him, saying ‘protocol brings about unnecessary delays’.
It’s good that the Sports Minister has confessed that there is too much bureaucracy in government that negatively delays progress because netball has fallen prey to such protocol over providing this sport the much needed modern infrastructure.
It’s now close to a decade that the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika — may his soul rest in peace — made a government pledge to build a state-of-the-art netball arena like the ones in which the Queens enjoy playing on in the rich countries they visit to play international tournaments.
But up to now, not a single structure — even the land for it — have we seen that resembles any initiative that is towards making Bingu’s dream come alive through netball. We have the national stadium built with funding from China, which is in its final completion stages and will be named after the former president, but that’s most to be enjoyed by football and athletics and not netball.
The Rach Trust funding for the netball indoor arena should not be considered as that made by late Bingu. We still are waiting for that specific project because late Bingu made that pledge as the President of this country, not as an individual.
That pledge, as I have countlessly made a comment on, can be fulfilled by any sitting president just like the Bingu National Stadium was done. President Arthur Peter Mutharika has the responsibility to make this pledge materialise, not because that Bingu was his brother, but as head of state.
No sport has put Malawi on the world map as netball has done. Everywhere they go they exude so much glamour that even exceeds that of the world netball giants such as New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica and England because of their unique style of play.
Mwawi Kumwenda is our ambassador in sports and she won the woman athlete of the year award. What more can we ask but to give netball what Bingu had promised that the government would provide?
That’s food for thought for APM and his government — it’s time to give netball what it deserves — a state-of-the-art netball arena just like what they play in when they play against the world netball giants.
Thanks to the Rach Family Trust for this fabulous partnership and hopefully there shall be many good things to come for netball to be enjoyed by all.
As I said for hockey last week, that netball arena should also have excellent modern facilities to attract lots of gate fee-paying supporters. The place should have attractive amenities like tuck shops, ice cream parlours, restaurants, kids’ playing grounds and others that can attract families to a day out just for hockey.
The place would make good revenue from sales of food, snacks and drinks that would go into Nam’s coffers. With such extra amenities, netball can start attracting more supporters than what they enjoy now.
The more the supporters, the more corporate companies could be attracted to market themselves during tournaments. That’s what the corporate world wants — huge gatherings at games where they can place visible advertising apparels for their products and services.
Well done Rach Family Trust — we have a true friend for the Malawian youths in you.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :