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Mary Waya speaks out

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Former Malawi national netball team coach, Mary Waya, has given her unsolicited analysis of why the Queens underperformed at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia recently.

Speaking from England where she coaches Hertfordshire Mavericks, Waya said the Queens lack a playmaker, players are individualistic and some netballers who travelled to the Games were unfit because they had just returned from maternity leave.

“My opinion is that we do not have a team but individuals who mind their own business. They do not complement each other and are unwilling to learn from their colleagues because they are full of themselves.

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“The team that travelled to England last year for friendlies should have been maintained because it had a good blend of experienced and young players. But the current squad was selected based on mere names. The squad that went to Australia had many players who were just coming from maternity leave; hence their endurance and coordination was lacking,” she said without mentioning names.

The Queens players, who had, months before the Games given birth, were Caroline Mtukule Ngwira, Sindi Simtowe Msowoya and Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda.

Waya, who Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) dropped after failing to win some nine games last year, added that lack of infrastructure and interference in player-selection also affects the Queens’ progress.

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“Just as is the case with the Flames, the Queens lack playmakers who can lead in turning things around. The current players wait for the coach to tell them everything. A coach guides a team but there are instances when players must think on their own on the court,” Waya said.

The Queens Coach, Whyte Mulilima, on arrival from Australia, dismissed talk that some experienced players were unfit but blamed the underperformance on poor preparations.

Earlier, former Queens’ star Judith Chalusa told The Daily Times that the players punched above their weight at the Games.

“My advice to those managing netball in Malawi is that they should also work on rejuvenating development structures. We no longer have the under-21 and 23 teams where we can groom players,” Chalusa was quoted as saying.

The Queens lost to England 74-49 and Uganda 54-52 at the Games where they beat Scotland 51-50,Wales 68-53, Northern Ireland 60-52 and New Zealand 57-53 to finish on seventh position.

Malawi is ranked sixth in the world and second in Africa. South Africa are Africa’s number one team while placed fifth in the world. The Games’ results will have a bearing on the next rankings.

Up to now, the government has not fulfilled its promise of constructing an in-door court for the Queens. Nam does not have a pool of qualified coaches, there are no youth teams at all levels, no national league and netball is hardly played in schools.

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