Next month Tanzania will host the African Netball championship which is expected to be a bona fide festival of netball.
The national women’s netball team, Taifa Queens will represent the country in this championship and it is hoped that they will make a positive impact on the continental netball scene.
As the regal Queens prepare for this prestigious competition, their preparations recently received a shot in the arm when a Malawian netball development coach, Mary Waya signed a one-year contract with the Filbert Bayi team.
During the short spell that Waya has been with the team, she has also acted as a consultant of the national netball team and one hopes that she can continue to help the Taifa Queens in this capacity.
As the countdown continues to the tournament we all hope that the local governing body for netball, CHANETA will use the enhanced focus on the sport wisely for the good of netball in the country.
One of the ideas that CHANETA could consider is to introduce the sport to youngsters from a very early age in a bid to groom talent at the grassroots level. Such a measure would help youngsters to gain a proper grounding in netball and it would also increase the likelihood of the country producing gifted stars in adulthood.
With regards to coaching, one hopes that Mary Waya is encouraged by CHANETA to organize training for local coaches in the country in an effort to improve the standard of coaching in local netball.
CHANETA should also weigh seriously the prospect of organizing a large scale training programme for teachers in primary and secondary schools so as to equip them with the basic skills in the sport.
This would ensure that students receive proper instruction in netball, thereby laying a firm foundation for their development as players.
Whichever way the cookie crumbles at the championship next month, it would also be helpful if CHANETA could ensure that regular friendlies are organized for both the provisional national netball team and the Taifa Queens proper.
This would help both the Taifa Queens and the aspiring Taifa Queens players to gain exposure to different styles of play on both the continental and international scene, which in turn would help them to develop and come of age as players.
But while most of these ideas are for the long term, we also hope that CHANETA will keep its focus on the here and now and prepare the Taifa Queens for the event next month.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports