Veteran netball Coach Griffin Saenda Senior is today expected to make an emotional return to the sport as he takes charge of Kukoma Diamonds in their last league game against Thunder Queens at Blantyre Youth Centre.
Saenda has been on the sidelines for six months, following an illness that ruled him out of club and national team commitments.
The coach confirmed that he will lead Diamonds’ coaching panel as the team seeks to finish the Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League with a perfect record.
“I am now back. Of course, for some weeks I have been helping [coach] the team temporarily but I am now in full control,” he said. Saenda said he felt sad that during his absence, Diamonds surrendered two major trophies—Presidential Cup and GOtv Netball Champions League.
“It was painful but I couldn’t help because I was unwell. Now that I am feeling well, I want to help my side regain the lost glory this year.
Therefore, even though we have already defended the league, we need to preserve our unbeaten record,” he said.
Saenda also said that he was frustrated by Malawi national netball teams’ failure at Fast5 Netball World Series in Australia last October and in three test matches against England in November.
In his absence, the Queens lost 10 successive games in all competitions.
“I am not blaming anyone but it hurts when such things happen when we were supposed to be progressing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thunder Coach, Christina Mkwanda- Nsinji, has said they intend to spoil Diamonds’ party.
“They have already won the league but we can spoil the mood if we beat them.
We have to win so as to market ourselves to potential sponsors,” she said.
Diamonds expect to welcome back goal-defender Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda who was on maternity leave whereas Thunder have quality players such as centre Thandie Galeta and goal-shooter Chikumbutso Kaminjolo.
The finale will be curtain raised by games involving Shizaella Queens and
Chilomoni Sisters, with Serenity Stars playing against Prison Sisters.
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