It’s a brilliant idea that Tigresses, one of the netball giants, plan to invest part of the K2 million they received after coming second in the Presidential Cup and one of them is that they are organising a fund-raising dinner to be held end of February.
That’s the way forward and in future they should think of more ambitious investment than fund-raising dinners which can flop due to low attendance.
In these hard times, fund-raising dinners can be risky and it’s time the team considered other avenues of investment. The team should engage well-wishing economic experts on the kind of investment available on the market that can suit the team’s interest.
One of them is to join Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) which offer savings in shares and deposits. You cannot go wrong with investing in Saccos. At Mudi Sacco we have a special package called ‘Mayi wa Tsogolo’ that covers group investment for women and won credits with USA-based World Sacco governing body.
Try it and you won’t go wrong. This can be applied to all other teams, not just Tigresses, in the drive to commercialise sports in the country.
For a start, netball needs to charge a fee for their games. Netball is well followed in the country but it’s pathetic that most of the games are watched for free because of the nature of the venues on offer for the sport.
Teams should demand that there should be a gate charge for their games. If there are high-profile matches at Blantyre Youth Centre, for example, where most of the glamorous finals are played, other activities meant for that venue like basketball, should be suspended to pave way for netball.
I know funding is a big problem but we should ask Malawi National Council of Sports to demarcate the netball court so that it can allow gate-fee charging to take place.
From such revenue, non-sponsored teams can gain something to pay their players. Teams from outside Blantyre can afford to pay for their travel costs.
We have Mwawi Kumwenda nominated as world athlete of the year and on the verge of winning it, why should our netball continue to be watched for free? This is the time to use Mwawi and impress the powers that be to invest heavily on this sport so that more Mwawis can be inspired to join it.
Netball is so glamorous in Malawi and we can make it even better if we can invest in its infrastructure. Like I said, the investment that was put to build the national stadium in Lilongwe could have built three state-of-the-art netball venues for the three regions.
We need such infrastructure which was promised by our former President, late Bingu wa Mutharika. We can always remember him if we carried on his dream just like we have maintained the Presidential Initiative on Sports, which was Bingu’s initiative.
Didn’t I say two weeks ago that Malawi Queens were excluded from a tournament that has just been introduced that involves England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa because we don’t have the infrastructure to host such profile matches?
The tournament will be played in all the four countries and none of them can accept to play on the hard asphalt and open courts we have where, when it rains, games are stopped and when the rains stop, the players themselves are involved in clearing the rain water from the court.
I am quite sure even the Queens envy the training facilities they encounter just in South Africa, which could be considered here as state-of-the-art.
Let’s make netball as glamorous as it should be.