By Bernard Mhone:
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) has slapped Karonga Queens Captain, Abigail Mwalughali, with a 25-year ban from all netball activities for causing violence during Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) regional finals against Mzuzu Queens.
Violent scenes erupted at Mzuzu’s Katoto Netball Court in November last year as Karonga protested alleged poor officiation of the match.
Northern Region Netball Committee (NRNC) had imposed a year-long suspension on Karonga for the violence but Nam reduced it to six months but banned Mwalughali for 25 years.
According to a letter dated March 1 2019 and signed by Nam General Secretary, Carol Bapu, the netball organizing body has maintained the K50,000 fine and individual fines imposed by the regional committee.
“Following your appeal, the ban has been reduced to six months and will only apply in respect of the 2019 PIS netball competition. The ban of requiring your officials not to take part in netball activities for one year has been set aside. Instead, Carthy Sharma and Lexa Chiumia should pay K10,000 each for failing to control players…. Your player, Abigail Mwalughali has been banned for a period of 25 years from taking part in any netball activities,” part of the letter reads.
It adds that Karonga players should not move to another club or team during the time of the ban.
In her reaction, Mwalughali said Nam has doomed her career as a young netballer and described the development as unfortunate.
“This will affect my future as a netballer. I am a young player with a lot of potential in the game. I am just surprised with their judgement because we have witnessed such incidents elsewhere but they do not punish offenders like that. Why me? But anyway, let their will be done,” Mwalughali said.
Karonga Team Manager, Ruth Mwafulirwa, expressed shock with the 25-year ban, saying it was excessive.
“We are only hoping that Nam will think again on this. Abigail is a young defender with a bright future ahead of her. What happened was very unfortunate but we believe the punishment should have been lighter,” Mwafulirwa said.
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