The Growth of Sports in Malawi


Malawi sports growth dates way back during its colonial times. Thanks to the British colonists who introduced sports into the country, Malawi now boasts some of the continent’s best sports teams, with football the most popular. It is followed by Netball, Basketball, Athletics and Volleyball. Besides, Malawians adore sporting activities from the physical ones to sedate competitions such as Poker and Chess. To backup Malawians love for sports, the government formed the Malawi National Council of Sports in 1974. The ministry has helped develop a culture of good sportsmanship, discipline, and sourcing funds from scholarships for both couches and players. The board has invested in various projects such as constructing a small boxing gym, accommodation and dining area based in Kamuzu Stadium for athletes.


After independence, some US volunteers introduced basketball to Malawi, and many Malawians fell in love with the sport. Today, the game has become so popular to the extent of playing it professionally. It has also won the hearts of many sponsors who fund professional players and pay US-based coaches who come to the country to nurture raw talent and scout for the NBA and other top leagues. Players like Mphatso Gift Zilemba and Chimwemwe Jeremiah have caught the attention of foreign scouts, among them former NBA great Michael Jordan, and one of the 3 notorious gamblers of the NBA, alongside many others.


Football in Malawi is played by boys of all age brackets, from the village teams to the national level team. The national soccer team, popularly known as “The Flames”, has taken part in several continental assignments. It has qualified twice for the African Cup of Nations and managed an all-time best of third position in 2010. The team is also a proud winner of the 1995 CECAFA cup. There are several players from Malawi playing in the South African Premier League, Zambia, and other leagues in the African continent, as well as abroad. Football betting with Betway is also growing fast in the Southern African country.


Netball is another popular sport among schoolgirls in Malawi. Being part of the International Federation of Netball Associations, it stands at the fifth position internationally. Besides, its national netball team has been one of the best African teams, having scooped the first position severally in the Confederation of Southern Africa Netball Associations (COSANA) tournament. So far, the national team has competed twice in the netball world championship where it won itself a fifth position, and once in the Commonwealth games. In the 2016 Fast5 Netball World Series, the national team raised its flag high by winning a bronze medal.


The game of skill is quite popular in Malawi. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has registered more than 100 Malawian chess players. In 2019, Susan Namangale made Malawi proud by picking up a gold medal after a 12-year break. She won seven points out of the possible nine and got herself a chance to play in the 2020 World Chess Olympiad in Moscow.


Malawi has some of the best professional sportsmen and women in Africa. Over the years, the country has attracted different organizations to aid in the development of sports in the country, in conjunction with the national government. The main challenge has always been poverty, but the world is opening up to opportunities for all, and there is so much hope that in a few years to come, Malawi will be a sporting powerhouse. For example, Betway and other top brands have shown interest even in humanitarian programs which go a long way in boosting sports, and the fight against poverty.