Netball fraternity keeps getting things upside down

Last week, it was the bizarre decision of breaking the tie in the election for post of chairperson for Northern Region Netball Committee through a coin-toss. This week all top posts have been filled up by officials unopposed for the South.


The chairperson is Junier Kazembe; her deputy Tadala Billie; secretary Patricia Kapindula; vice-secretary Veronica Chigaula; treasurer Eleanor Mapulanga and vice-treasurer Jean Matola — all unopposed.

The voting was on committee members — Alice Ngwira (16 votes);  Dalitso Chinyama (16); Ruth Chimombo (15); Slyvia Malenga (11) and Martha Chaponda (6).


At least all are women as opposed to the North that elected Allan Nkhonjera against female contender Tamara Fweta with fellow male Ken Phiri as vice-chairperson and another male Lumbani Ng’ambi as secretary with Killy Msukwa; Stephano Kaunda, Alick Mhone as committee members.

The Central Region had female Cecilia Mtukule-Bongwe as chairperson but the post of vice-chairperson went to a male, Fernando Ligola and that of treasurer to Daniel C. Nyirenda with Aaron Gopani as vice-treasurer.

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Consternation arose over the decision to toss the coin when an alternative was available for NAM president Abigail Shariff to break the tie by choosing her preferred and suitable candidate but she declined to carry that responsibility.

Prior to the elections, several people were not pleased that most of the candidates were male for this predominantly female sport that is encouraged to be administered by women themselves by World Netball.

This is what the men in the South have done by not contesting at all but this development of all top posts being taken unopposed is not healthy at all — there is always need to have some competition so that the ones elected should always strive to be at their best in order to be considered for another term.

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This can be so because they would realise if they mess up during their tenure of office, the electorate might consider the opponent who lost instead in the next elections.

But this trend of not contesting is disheartening, to say the least. Women, please rise up and take the challenge to help develop the sport in the best way possible.Former players must lead this sport because they know what is needed for the current players to enjoy by reaping good fruits from it.

It is time that netball became a paying sport to watch and not the current system where the arena for the game such as at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) is shared by other disciplines — basketball, volleyball, tennis and football.

Netball action at BYC

BYC administrators, Malawi National Council of Sports, should seal off the netball court from access to those who might claim to be coming for the other sports disciplines but on the ruse to watch netball instead for free.

I don’t know what it is that Malawians always want to watch sports games for free. Is it that they can’t afford it? I doubt that. You come back from a football match and find a fan spending a lot of money on beer at a bar while proudly boasting that his relation or a friend let him in for free to watch the match.

I am like, really? Are you so proud that you want to get into the stadium for free? What about the player who is entertaining you, where will the money come from to pay him.

Many men watch netball out there

We must stop this bad and backward habit and begin to be positive in helping develop the game and we must assist netball through this way.

Men must support women through by paying to watch the sport. This is where we can contribute and as we continue to support it, we can then ask the administrators to up their sport.

We men must add to the sport’s glamour just as others do out there where the Queens go out to compete. Their arenas are full with both men and women and the tickets for the games aren’t cheap at all!

But the men in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Jamaica, Wales, England, Scotland save money long before international netball tournaments. Some follow their national teams wherever they travel to — all for the love of the sport.

The Queens, the pride of Malawi

Let us support this sport so that more women, especially former players, might eye to contest for administrative posts to think outside the box on how the sport can be developed further.

Let’s have some new and fresh brains and not the same old faces who don’t seem to add any flavor to this sport. It is time we started paying to watch netball and the current administrators should ask us as journalists to be accredited with IDs which we should pay for the registration just as Football Association of Malawi does.

This will stop every Jim and Jack who might claim to be a journalist when they are not — just wanting to watch the games for free. There are just many of them out there, I see them all the time.

Mwawi Kumwenda, Malawi’s first netball export

Otherwise, as the dust has settled, the new committees should be seen to be working towards contributing new ideas and, meanwhile, aspiring candidates for administrative posts should immediately make themselves known by offering their ideas publicly.

Don’t shy out from voicing out shortfalls in the sport’s administration or to offer advice. That way you get to be noticed and you gain confidence to consider contesting.

Give these guys who have taken up these posts unopposed a good for the money so that they should always be on top of their game. Follow up on the pledges they made in their campaigns — oops! were there any campaigns without an opponent?