THE Tanzania Netball Association (Chaneta) has asked Australian coach Simone McKinnis to be patient as it awaits the green light from President Jakaya Kikwete to employ her.
“We have requested McKinnis to give us at least a month to finalise arrangements for her contract with the government,” Chaneta chairperson Anna Bayi told THISDAY at the weekend.
“We've also asked an IFNA official who visited the country recently to convey our sincere apology to McKinnis and tell her to bear with us,” she added.
The Australian was recommended by Chaneta early this year after a thorough search conducted with the help of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA).
This followed an offer by President Kikwete to employ an expatriate coach for the national netball team, Taifa Queens.
The president has committed the government to paying the coach’s salary and living expenses.
About four months have elapsed since the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports submitted Chaneta's recommendations to the State House for the president's approval.
A senior ministry official, who preferred anonymity, confirmed at the weekend that the State House has not yet responded.
“We submitted Chaneta's recommendations to President Kikwete long time ago and we're still waiting for a response,” he said.
McKinnis was also notified that she had been earmarked for the job.
This prompted her to resign from her position as Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Australian U-21 netball coach in February and had planned to arrive in Dar es Salaam on April 17 to take up the role of Tanzania national coach.
A source close to the Australian coach told THISDAY that McKinnis is totally frustrated by the delay to confirm her appointment and is contemplating to find employment elsewhere.
“She has been left in the dark and has heard nothing from the Tanzania government for the past three months,” the source said.
McKinnis, the former legend of Australian netball, has focused in her new job on the development of the national programme with specific emphasis on the progress of the Taifa Queens.
Currently ranked 22nd in the world and fourth in Africa, Tanzania aims to be among the top 15 teams in the world by year 2012..
McKinnis represented Australia in 67 tests between 1986 and 1998 winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1998 and World Championships in 1991 and 1995.
Australia's media reported recently that she had a huge impact at the AIS since her appointment in 2007 and ultimately leading the Australian U-21 team to victory at the 2009 World Youth Netball Championship in the Cook Islands.
“Simone was exceptional in her role as coach of the AIS netball programme and the Australian U-21 team and we thank her for her work over the past three years,” Netball Australia General Manager of High Performance Natalie Wright-Boyd was quoted as saying after receiving McKinnis' resignation.
“The progression of our emerging high performance athletes to prepare for challenges of international competition has been outstanding through her guidance and this was evident in the achievement of the Australian U-21 team winning the 2009 World Youth Netball Championship.
“This role with Tanzania will be an exciting and challenging one and we wish Simone all the best in this important position of developing netball in other countries. “