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Experts warn on Mwawi Kumwenda’s lead

With just days before voting in the International World Games Association Athlete of the Year award ends, experts in statistics and information technology have warned that complacency could cost Malawi netball queen, Mwawi Kumwenda, the historic title.

The former Escom Sisters (now Kukoma Diamonds) goal-shooter, currently the only African competing in the world’s most prestigious netball league in New Zealand, is leading the pack of 17 other nominees for the award with close to 13,000 votes.

Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova of Russia trail the Malawian icon with less than 5,000 votes. Germany’s Flying Disc Ultimate Mixed team is third with close to 4,000 votes.

Local statistician, Patrick Chisale, who documents figures for the Super League of Malawi, warned that Mwawi could be overtaken if people in the countries, where her competitors come from, mobilised themselves to vote.

“The countries in question are quite big and populous. Russia is the biggest country in the world and Germany has a massive population. You should also consider the fact that voting is online and people in the two countries have better and easier access to the internet as compared to Malawi and Africa,” Chisale observed.

Domestic Information Technology expert, Daudi Suleman, said with a count of about four million handsets, Malawi should maximise on the use of mobile phone internet services provided by TNM and Airtel to up Mwawi’s stakes.

“Let us not relax. We should not be complacent. I say as Malawians, we must leave the comfort zone and vote everyday up to the January 3. Anything can happen in this world, so let us not take chances. Once Mwawi wins, the whole Malawi will win,” Suleman observed.

“We should also rally the support of fellow netballing nations like South Africa, Australia and England. I am sure they will feel good to see a netballer win the award,” Suleman concluded.

An individual can only vote once in 24 hours, but those that submit their names, email addresses and agree to receive the

International World Games Association newsletter are allowed to vote twice during that time.

Voting ends on Sunday. Casting of the votes is done on the website www.theworldgames.org.

Mwawi was nominated for scoring 321 goals in just eight matches at last year’s World Netball Cup in New Zealand. She was deservedly named player of the tournament.

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