Minister of Sports Francis Kasaila has told Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) to be proactive and not just wait for invited and funded foreign trips for the Queens and I agree with him.
This is what the Malawi media, yours truly inclusive, has always advised NAM that they need to do more for the Queens in order to be at par with their counterparts like New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa, Jamaica et al.
But then Honourable Minister, what has the government done to support this sport really? This sport lacks everything from funding, good paying tournaments to infrastructure.
And Honourable Minister, the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika pledged to build a state-of-the-art netball arena. He did not pledge it on a personal level but as a state pledge. Where are we with that pledge?
As minister by now you should have fulfilled this pledge:
1. to give netball the best facility and
2. to honour an ambition Bingu had for this glamorous sport.
If we had such a state-of-the-art netball arena, NAM could have been proactive as you are suggesting. They could have been spurred on to display such arena against the other top world netball teams.
Why does NAM fail to invite these top teams here? It's because where can they be hosted. Why the Queens only participate in the tournaments is because they cannot afford to invite other teams.
Honourable Minister, these top teams I have mentioned above are always up against each other in what are called Test Series. These are not friendly games -- they are sanctioned by the world netball governing body, the International Netball Federation (INF).
These teams gauge each other' strengths and weaknesses through these matches and are always taken very seriously. There are times that the Queens are invited by one of the top teams, especially England, for such Test Series but NAM cannot reciprocate for obvious reasons.
I suggested before that since we cannot host these teams because of lack of infrastructure, why can't the Queens be afforded a chance to ask the countries like New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa, Jamaica et al that they visit them for the matches and that NAM becomes the host in foreign country and that they meet the expenses expected of a host country.
That would be being proactive. The more the Queens play these top teams, the more they shall discover the formula on how to beat them.
And while we are at it, NAM and the government should work out how that arena Bingu promised should materiase where lucrative tournaments should be played.
And also, Honourable Minister, find out why NAM keeps losing sponsorship. This is also a worrisome development. I pray that the Mpico Gateway Netball Challenge shall be sustained for many years to come if netball is to flourish.