FDH Bank Bails Out Queens

Malawi Queens official corporate sponsors FDH Bank Plc yesterday released a K94 million package for the national netball team ahead of next month’s Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has described the move as a huge relief as the Queens failed to regroup for camping last Sunday as planned because government through the Sports Council was yet to release funding for the same as expected.

FDH Bank plc head of marketing and communication Levie Nkunika yesterday said K17 million is meant for local camping and administration while  K77 million will cater for other requirements on Queens preparations and travel.

He said: “We appreciate the importance of the Netball World Cup qualification and participation in the Queens’ growth.

The Queens taking on Australia at 2019 Netball World Cup in 2019

“It is a global stage and a big opportunity for the Queens to grow. As a sponsor, we have released funds from our sponsorship package to ensure that the national netball team is well set for the World Cup.”

He said in collaboration with the Sports Council and NAM, they reviewed the Queens’ budget for local camping and travel and pooled resources to meet the requirements.

“We wish NAM and the Queens all the best as they embark on this rewarding endeavour,” he said.

NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala, in an interview, said the funding had come at the right time when they were in dilemma on how to handle the next camping after a week-long break.

He said: “We planned to resume camp last Sunday, but we failed because Sports Council, who were supposed to provide the funding, has not yet done so.

“But with this support from the FDH Bank, we are mulling over the idea of using these funds and start camping within this week as we wait for the Sports Council’s support.

“We will consult the bank and stakeholders regarding our intentions because we are already running against time to be fully prepared.”

Sports Council spokesperson Edgar Ntulumbwa yesterday said  the Queens would access government funding by close of business yesterday.

Queens’ technical director Sam Kanyenda, who is the stand-in coach, said in the absence of the camping, the technical panel  advised the Queens players to engage in home-based training until they are recalled into camp.

Three of the four overseas professionals, who are in the Queens’ final 15-player squad are expected to fly in within the week.

Captain Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda and Joyce Mvula-Nyirenda will join the camping while Australia-based Mwawi Kumwenda-Mbwana will join the team in South Africa.

Before the World Cup, the Queens will play New Zealand and Zimbabwe in friendly matches.

The Queens are in Group B alongside third-ranked England, 10th-placed Scotland and 14th-ranked Barbados.

Group A has Australia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga while hosts South Africa are in Group C with  Jamaica, Wales and Sri Lanka.

Reigning champions New Zealand are in Group D alongside Uganda, Singapore and Trinidad & Tobago

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