Sports Council to keep track of national athletes past and present through creation of formal database

The piece of land that was of Saukile’s home

* Lessons learnt after realising late of the plight of Paralympic star Mphatso Saukile

* Whose family’s home was destroyed due to effects of Cyclone Freddy in March

* Yet he represented the country in Italy at Jesolo Grand Prix in May where he won the silver medal in 1500m

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi National Council of Sports Board chairperson, Sunduzwayo Madise announced that the Council is in the process of creating a formal database of national athletes past and present in order to keep track of them in case they fall into mishaps.


Madise said this when the Council presented K1 million to Paralympic star Mphatso Saukile, whose family’s home was destroyed due to effects of Cyclone Freddy in March and only learnt of the plight of the athletes last month during prize presentation of the Standard Bank Be More Race on June 17.

Madise told the gathering of Saukile’s kinsfolk’s compound at Sogoja Village, Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba that they were not aware of Saukile’s mishap until at the Be More Race prize presentation, when Standard Bank Chief Executive, Phillip Madinga played a video of Eneless Makumba’s charity initiative to run to Race to raise funds for the reconstruction of the house.

He told the gathering — a function that was graced by Mayor of Zomba City, Councillor Dave Maunde; Village Chief Sogoja; Sports Council acting Executive Secretary, Boma and his staff; Zomba Athletics Academy members; as well as the media — that he noticed that the athlete in question was wearing colours of Malawi national team.

Sunduzwayo Madise

“That’s when I realized that he is one of our own,” Madise said. “When I asked, I was told that indeed Mphatso is a great up-and-coming Paralympic, who won a gold medal for the country during the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games which we hosted in December 22 in Lilongwe and also represented the country in Italy [Jesolo Grand Prix in Venice from May 12-15] where he won the silver medal [in 1500m and 5th in 400m in Open-aged competition].

“I advised management of Sports Council that we needed to also do something to assist our own as well as highlight this cause for other wellwishers to also join us so that we all assist that Mphatso should be afforded a decent home.”

He added that it was very unfortunate that Sports Council was not aware of the plight of Saukile until Madinga publicly made the announcement and their support — and he further implored sports administrators to keep checking on their athletes from time to time.

Thus he announced that Sports Council is developing a database of all athletes that have represented Malawi, past and present, so that they should keep track of them, saying it pains them when they learn late of the poor plight of some former stars who raised Malawi flag high.


After appreciating the condition of their welfare around the compound, which was heavily affected by effects of Cyclone Freddy, made an impromptu contribution by forfeiting his annual Board honoraria of K600,000 towards the cause.

He apologized on behalf of Sports Council that the assistance has come a bit late since March when Cyclone Freddy wreaked damage across the Southern Region until when Standard Bank were the first corporate to come forward to assist with K1 million.

This was after Eneless Makumba, deputy matron of Zomba Athletics Academy — which groomed Saukile into a star with the assistance of Paralympic experts — volunteered to run the Standard Bank Be More Race as a fundraiser.

When it was reported by Maravi Express that Eneless was to run in the annual international race, Standard Bank also made the impromptu decision to support the cause, which is targeting to raise over K4.5 million to also assist two more Zomba Athletics Academy athletes, whose homes were also damaged.

Saukile (right) next to Eneless Makumba and some of the Zomba Athletics Academy members

Madise profoundly acknowledged Eneless, wife to founder of Zomba Athletics Academy, Benedicto Makumba — a soldier with the Malawi Defence Force currently on UN peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — for her fundraising efforts that brought the plight of Saukile to the public.

Eneless also intends to run in the Blantyre 42.195km Race on July 30 for the same fundraising cause and Madise emphasized on the need to support the initiative.

Those wishing to support the Makumba’s efforts, that include paying for secondary school fees for some of the Zomba Athletics Academy, are encouraged to deposit to Zomba Branch of the FDH Bank — Account name: Zomba Athletics Development Center; Account number: 1210000450527.

Meanwhile, Eneless — buoyed by her excellent performance in the Standard Bank Be More Race in which she finished 6th, is eyeing for top honours during the Blantyre 42.195km Race on July 30.

As part of her training, she finished 30km on Sunday, in a time of 2:44;44hrs and in the Be More Race, she competed favourably by finishing 6th in a time 1:41:55hrs — just 24 minutes away from the 2023 edition’s champion, Kenyan Monica Ghihruto, who clocked 1:16:18.

Another Kenyan, Naomi Jepkrir was the runner-up in a time of 1:17:39 with Malawian Nalicy Chirwa claiming the third spot a time of Nalicy Tembo (1:20:30); followed by Mulanje-based Tereza Master on 4th (1:23:45).

The 5th position — that was the cut off point for prizes — was taken by Chloe Powell in a time of 1:24:37.

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