In recognition to the contribution of their carrying the Malawi flag high at international tournaments, FDH Bank has pumped in K360 million to the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) of which K300 million will go directly towards sponsoring the Malawi national team, the Queens.

This was disclosed on Tuesday at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre by FDH’s acting Managing Director William Mpinganjira, saying K45 million will fund a Netball Cup while K15 million will be used to for NAM’s administration expenses.

“Netball, despite being the pride of the nation, has been lacking necessary support, structures and resources,” Mpinganjira said.

“The Queens were, among other milestones, the bronze medalist at the Fast 5 International Series in 2016 in Australia and managed to beat the world’s number two team, New Zealand, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, despite limited resources.

“The Queens, through NAM, have continuously exhibited massive potential and it is in this vein that today we are happy to unveil a 3-year sponsorship of K360 Million to the Netball Association of Malawi.

“As you are aware FDH Bank is a Malawian bank — born and bred here. It is truly your bank.

“No Bank believes in the potential of Malawi, than FDH Bank. That is the reason we have invested in the widest and biggest service centre network of 52 service centres and 92 reliable ATMs and in exciting digital products.

“No bank believes in the potential of the youth of Malawi than FDH Bank, that is the reason we pioneered the development of grassroots netball and football in the primary schools in Malawi City’s through the sponsorship of Mayor’s Trophies in all the four cities — Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba.

“And this completes the equation when it comes to promoting raw talent. We are happy that other companies have now started following us as leaders and pioneers to sponsor Mayors Trophy. This is good for the development of sports in Malawi.

“We have invested close to K100 million in Mayor’s Trophies in the past 3 years to promote talent at grassroots level and we invested K450 million in the FAM FDH Cup for a three-year period this year on top of the K180 million invested in the Flames in 2018 for three years that has seen an improvement in the performance of the Flames.

“However, we observed that Netball, despite being the pride of the nation, has been lacking necessary support, structures and resources.

“We are very keen on the Netball Cup for two reasons; the Queens squad to remain competitive will need talent that will be developed and identified during the competition.

“And secondly, we sponsor Mayors’ Trophies which include netball and we are hoping the cup will be a transformation platform and an inspiration for the young talent.

“The allocation to NAM administration is to assist the association become a more vibrant and structured institution as they are looking to recruit marketing and finance resource manager to drive netball growth in Malawi.

“We are honoured to be able to work with NAM in this partnership and I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Malawi Government for its continued support towards netball and the Queens for the work you have done resiliently in supporting the Queens.

“FDH Bank champions growth. We believe in nurturing businesses to flourish, nurturing raw talent to shine at the big stage.

“We make growth possible, hence our motto ‘Our bank, Our future, Grow with us’. I wish the Queens all the best in their future endeavors and I know we will grow together,” Mpinganjira said.

In her response, NAM president Khungekile said the Queens are a big brand that will propel FDH Bank’s growth.

“We see a bright future together and we promise to make sure that the team continues to impress.

“We want the Queens to reclaim Africa’s top sport in the rankings and break into the top 4 in the world.

“The Queens dropped to position 3 in Africa not because of poor performance but because they were not taking part in most of the small but ranking tournaments.”

Matiya said with this sponsorship they will be looking at where they can tap talent from to blend into the the Queens so that they build a competitive side for 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled for Birmingham in UK and also the 2023 World Netball Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

“We are working tirelessly to find a sponsor for the first-ever national league because such a league will bring forth a pool of players for the national team.

“We also want want to see netball becoming a full time career for women in the country just as football is for men.

“It may pleases you as our sponsor to know that NAM has four players playing professional netball — Joyce Mvula and Lorraine Ngwira for Manchester Thunders in UK and Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda, who has just signed for the Severn Stars also in UK.

“They are all playing in the Vitality Netball Superleague. We also have Mwawi Kumwenda who plays in Australia.

“These girls are playing in international competitive leagues and we believe with this sponsorship we will see more of our girls playing professional netball.

“Our girls are making mother Malawi proud wherever they go. So, this is just an assurance from NAM that FDH Bank has made the right choice — the Queens will not disappoint you,” Matiya said.