Malawi Netball Queens’ hopes of lifting the Africa Netball Championship and qualifying for the 2018 Commonwealth Games have suffered a huge setback following the absence of three key defenders.
It is likely that Malawi will be without skipper Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira, vice captains Grace Mwaful i rwa-Mhango and Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda.
Ngwira was on maternity leave and she is battling for match fitness whereas Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda did not report for camp following reports that she is also on maternity break.
Mhango withdrew from the squad because she has secured a new job.
It means that Thunder Queens’ Joanna Kachilika is the only experienced defender in the squad. The likes of Colleta Mwalilino, Brenda Lwanda (Civonets), Juliet Sambo [Blue Eagles Sisters], Wezzie Mzemba- Msiska, Beauty Basiyano, Catherine Yikwanga (Tigresses) and Martha Dambo (Thunder Queens) are inexperienced.
Another player, Lauren Ngwira, who can play in attack and defence, has been sent back for reporting late for training without a valid reason.
Sources said Ngwira trained with the team on Tuesday but she was sent back in the evening.
Ngwira has been inactive for a year and it was a gamble including her in the squad.
However, Queens Coach, Griffin Saenda, could not be drawn into commenting about Ngwira’s expulsion.
Saenda said if players fail to report for camp training by this weekend, the technical panel will concentrate on the current squad.
“This is a national duty and everyone is supposed to respond and be happy about it. Some players gave excuses which we felt were genuine but others gave us lame excuses,” he said.
Already Malawi will be without Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda of Melbourne Vixens and Tigresses’ reliable shooter, Sindie Simtowe-Msowoya, who is also on maternity break.
Blue Eagles Sisters centre, Takondwa Lwazi, also withdrew from the squad as she is busy with preparations for her wedding.
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