BY ELIZABETH MANDALA, MANA
Hockey Association of Malawi [HAM] in conjunction with Central High International School [CHIS] said they have up to date registered 320 trainees from schools and surrounding communities to undergo training at the first ever Hockey Academy in Blantyre.
In June 2019, HAM and CHIS signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the first ever Hockey Academy in the country in an effort to promote the sport from the grassroots.
HAM Coaching and Development Committee Chairperson, Kundai Mbawala said he is impressed with the turnout as it has shown how the community has welcomed and embraced the initiative.
“The vision of the academy is to make Malawi a hockey playing nation as it were back in the early 70s and late 80s.
The objectives of the academy, among others, include providing primary and secondary schools in the vicinity an opportunity to learn the game and compete in school tournaments.
“The sport of hockey is an undergoing revolution and it is much centered around youth development; hence, the thought of having a well-established academy is a must should we want to see the sport develop in the country,” Mbawala said.
Mbawala said the academy is providing courses for teachers and students in coaching, umpiring, judging and basic first aid, adding that the academy is for free and open to schools and the community around the school.
“So far, we have trained 16 coaches but our target is to have 50 – 60 coaches and the first three courses are for free as all costs are being covered by CHIS itself. Moreover, interested schools and community members will not be required to pay anything to undergo training,” he said.
Since the establishment of the academy last year it has so far rolled out one coaching course and mobilized close to 500 hockey sticks, according to Mbawala.
“Our next activity is a school tournament scheduled for March and our target here is to develop the sport to the extent of producing a junior side that will compete in the Under 14 international hockey tournaments and so far, 16 schools have shown interest to participate,” he said.
After HAM’s plea to well-wishers in an effort to promote the sport, CHIS did not hesitate and offered the sport infrastructures considering the contribution that CHIS made in the 80s through the production of great athletes.
CHIS has produced great football legends; including, the late Jack ‘African’ Chamangwana, Gilbert Chirwa, Holman and his brother Kennedy Malunga, Kannock Munde and Gerald Phiri.