The Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) of Malawi unveiled a 20-member team for the 2018 Goldcoast Games comprising netball and athletics.
The games will be staged in Queensland, Australia, from April 4-15.
Speaking during the team unveiling in Blantyre, CGA (Malawi) president Oscar Kanjala said the country will for the first time be represented by only two sports codes following a decision by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to improve the standards of the event.
“The Games’ commercial value has increased drastically and, as such, it is attracting top-class athletes—because of that CGF decided that most of the codes will be staged based on qualification.
“If the level of participants is low, top-class athletes would shun the event and in view of that, CGF decided to up the standards,” he said.
Kanjala said there were three codes—netball, volleyball and weightlifting—which required qualification and out of these, only netball made the grade.
“The other two were not ready. But then even for other codes that did not require qualification, they too were not ready.”
He said the development is a wake-eup call to athletes and associations to pull up their socks and meet the standards.
The CGA Malawi president and his vice Flora Mwandira said athletics was chosen because most of the athletes were not far off from the required qualification time.
Added Mwandira: “We had been discussing with the associations that we would only take those that are well prepared.”
Kanjala also said as CGA they own and facilitate the games while government comes in to support the associations.
England-based netballer Joyce Mvula has been named as Malawi’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. The attire for the opening ceremony and the games was also unveiled.
The Queens left on the 17th of March 2018 for New Zealand for a four-day Taini Jamison Quad Series in Auckland, which will also involve the hosts Ferns, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls and Fiji’s Pearls from March 21 to 24 en route to the Commonwealth Games.
Queens assistant coach Whyte Mulilima yesterday named a 12-member full-strength squad which has seen the return of experienced goal defender Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda and goal attacker Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya.
The squad also includes Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda and Mvula. The other players are Jane Chimaliro, Takondwa Lwazi, Thandi Galeta, Bridget Kumwenda, Lorraine Ngwira, Joana Kachilika (captain) and Martha Dambo.
Said Mlilima: “It was not easy to come up with the final squad, the competition was very stiff and those that have made it were outstanding.”
Athletics coach Isaac Phiri said the athletes were picked based on their performance in international competitions since 2016.
The eight athletes expected to depart for Australia on March 25 are Dalitso Gunde (200m), Golden Gunde (200m), Benedicto Makumba (800m), Gervazio Mpani (5 000m), Chance Master (5 000m), Kefasi Kasteni (10 000m), Francis Khanje (marathon) and Happy Mcherenje (marathon).