* Officials were asking fellow passengers on the queue to volunteer to check-in the team’s uniforms and other equipment
* Apparently they had no money to pay for the national team’s uniforms and equipment to be flown back to Malawi
* This was witnessed and reported by journalist and social media influencer, Idriss Ali Nassar at OR Tambo
By Duncan Mlanjira
At the check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, on their return from the 2023 Netball World Cup, officials of Malawi national netball team, the Queens reportedly were asking fellow passengers on the queue to volunteer to check-in the team’s uniforms and other equipment.
This was witnessed and reported by journalist and social media influencer, Idriss Ali Nassar at OR Tambo, saying “apparently they had no money to pay for the national team’s uniforms and equipment to be flown back to Malawi”.
“So passengers without a lot of luggage are dividing and checking-in the equipment on behalf of the officials,” Idriss said. “The irony of it? The team’s officials are all proudly putting on FDH Bank caps…”, hinting that such travel procedure should be paid for from the sponsorship package.
There was quite a healthy debate over the post on Facebook, with several commentators observing that indeed FDH Bank’s sponsorship is supposed to cover such administrative costs of travel.
Others were of the suspicion that the officials could have overspent or were trying to save money so that they use the surplus for personal gains.
Chiza Nyirongo added credence that such trips has officials with a leader of delegation making sure such travel arrangements are handled and paid for, to which Khwesi Msusa agreed, saying: “You really tend to wonder whether we have anyone managing anything in this country.
“Surely one of the large contingent member was charged with this simple task. It doesn’t need FDH Bank to sort out such a logistical issue, we should thank FDB Bank for having provided the finances.”
When Sha aNaphi and Thandie wa Pulimuheya asked why the team couldn’t spread the weight amongst themselves as they were travelling together, Idriss responded that the luggage was too much to bear.
Rachael Mkandawire suggested that the officials should have packed the luggage and ship it by bus.
Meanwhile, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) issued a statement appealing to the public to welcome the Queens on the arrival at Kamuzu International Airport this afternoon.
The Queens finished 7th at the Netball World Cup and on its part as the official sponsors, FDH Bank Plc congratulated team it was “a good run and a good fight … in a tight competition involving 16 of the best teams in the world that made it to the tournament”.
Public Relations Manager for FDH Bank, Lorraine Chikhula said: “As sponsors, we gave The Queens full support during preparations and on the ground here in Cape Town.
“We believe The Queens will make it to the next World Cup and will continue to fight for a higher ranking,” she said in an interview from Cape Town where the sponsors gave their total support of solidarity.
Malawi Queens beat Tonga in their last match for the second time in three days to claim 7th spot at the Netball World Cup after beating 64-54 on Sunday — which was their second triumph over Tonga having beaten them 56-51 last Thursday and in Sunday’s match, the Queens got the better of the Tala’s with a 10-goal gap.
They opened their campaign by beating Scotland 54-49 before losing 39-62 against England in the next and thumped Barbados 84:48 in the third match.
In the match against Australia the Queens managed to rattle the world No. 1 by drawing 28-28 at half time but an injury by playmaker Lwazi in the third quarter disturbed coach Sam Kanyenda’s game plan and they went on to lose 46-70.
FDH Bank and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) signed a three-year K360 million sponsorship deal for the Queens in 2019 that sees them getting K100 million per year for the next three years while K45 million will be funding a netball cup, with the remaining K15 million allocated to NAM administration.