The entire Malawi National Netball Team joined the family of former coach Griffin Saenda in paying their final respects at HHI Cemetery where the fallen hero was buried on Saturday.
The late Saenda died on Thursday last week at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) after suffering a minor stroke.
The 68-year old, who guided the Queens to their historical third place finish at FastFive World Netball Series in 2017, won several accolades locally with Kukoma Diamonds.
And soon after their arrival from South Africa on Monday where they went for testing matches with Spar Proteas, the Queens decided to pay their last respect to their former mentor.
Speaking after the ceremony, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) President Khungekire Matiya said the news about Saenda’s death was devastating.
“The news was devastating to everybody especially to the players. We tried to suppress it but we couldn’t and the whole day wasnt a good day for us. If we had a choice, we could have postponed the game but we felt it was imperative for us to play.
“It was very sad but we tried to hold ourselves. We advised the girls to cry and after that, we urged the girls to go and play in honour of our late coach. We cannot talk about netball without Mr. Saenda and that’s the reason why we have come here today to pay our final respects just to show our appreciation,” said Matiya.
Queens Captain Carol Mtukule Ngwira described Saenda as a good man who was more than a father in and outside the netball court.
“The news of his death was painful but we had to play the game in honour of our former coach. He was a good man. He was a good adviser on and off the netball Court. It’s very unfortunate that we didn’t do well in our test series against South Africa because we could have honoured him with victories but that’s netball, anything can happen and we lost all our games,” she said.
The late Saenda is survived with 10 children.