Central Regional volleyball enthusiasts are on a campaign to revitalize the sport in rural districts and just on Saturday there was a strength testing tournament that was played at Ntchisi Secondary School involving four teams.
The games are being inspired and organised by a group of veteran volleyball enthusiasts whose drive is to inculcate the passion in school going youngsters and for the past few weeks, such games have been played in Mchinji and Kasungu as well as in the South in Chikwawa, Nsanje, Machinga, Mangochi and Karonga in the North.
One of the veterans, Simeon Kwame Mwale, a police officers and team manager for Mponela Eagles, said the strength-testing games are invigorating the youths as well as the veterans in order to keep the sport alive in the rural districts.
"We enjoy excellent volleyball. The response from the districts is admirable. The games at Ntchisi Secondary School attracted four teams -- Ntchisi Smashers, Mponela Eagles, Mbuyedziko and Ntchisi Hospital.
"The results were Ntchisi Hospital 3-0 Mbuyedziko, Ntchisi Hospital 3-0 Mponela Eagles, Mponela Eagles 2-0 Mbuyedziko, Ntchisi Smashers 2-1 Mbuyedziko, Ntchisi Smashers 2-1 Mbuyedziko and Ntchisi Smashers 2-1 Ntchisi Hospital."
Ntchisi Smashers team manager, Duff Nkhambule said the aim of the tournaments is to afford teams to strengthen themselves in preparations for the second round of the Central Region Volleyball League (CRVL).
"We even receive support from the district councils who support us in terms of mobility," Nkhambule said. "And we have had new teams coming aboard such as Khuwi, Noid, Ntchisi Police and several others.
"Rural teams are playing good volleyball such as Mbuyedziko because we make follow ups on them. And we do get support from personal contributions as well as material support nets and balls from Central Region League.
"Ntchisi Smashers are currently on position 1 in the CRVL Category B with 24 points, which shows that volleyball is going to rural areas," he said.
The tournaments have been spread out in various venues in the past three weeks and Volleyball Association of Malawi (VAM) general secretary, Jairos Nkhoma said they are very happy with the initiative, saying it's an indicator that the society is now fully appreciating the sport.
"The volleyball family, with its regional committees, are very passionate to take volleyball to higher levels. The teams in rural districts are able to catch up with the game and the progression is splendid," Nkhoma said.
"We have seen players from rural areas graduating into top league clubs and we hope that the people we have trained in all three regions will impart the skills to other emerging teams or even form their own.
"It's a chain of development -- VAM trains coaches, referees and the management, who in turn give back to the community. It's time for companies, individuals and other stakeholders to come forward and fully sponsor volleyball and to interact with the communities through marketing their products of choice.
"Our main role is to see that the game is being played by following the right rules and being technically right and also to see that they have support from companies, individuals and other stakeholders.
Last week, Malawi National Council of Sports sponsored 49 people, of which 10 were women, for a national training refereeing course that VAM held at Falls Baptist Theological College in Lilongwe.
It was facilitated by Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) Egyptian instructor, Waleed Mohamed Abdelsamad Kabel.The recent Refereeing Course conducted in Lilongwe is just one example of our role to compliment and add value to the sport.
"The recent referees' training went on very well and it brought together participants from all the three regions and all passed with flying colours. The passion and discipline displayed by the participants made them excel and get the certificates.
"They did great in both theory and practical exams. The 45 participants was a mix bag of 39 new ones, 3 with knowledge in refereeing and 4 national coaches.
"It's our goal to see that we provide capacity building each year in refereeing, coaching and management. We thank Sports Council and FIVB/CAVB for making our goal possible this year.
"So, the games in the rural districts are helping those trained to impart their skills to youngsters as well as to tap new talent and to market the sport to all communities in our country.
"This is also a provision of social entertainment, the promoting a health society and the improvement of referees and coaches technically."