Malawian netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda continues to make headlines in international publications after inspiring her Australian club, Melbourne Vixens, to the Suncorp 2020 Super Netball title on Sunday.
Kumwenda was on target 47 times out of 50 attempts to drive Vixens to an emotive 66- 64 win over West Coast Fever and was deservedly named Player-of-the-Match.
In its analysis of the 2020 season, British media giant Sky Sports described the Malawi national netball team shooter as a big influence in Vixens’ success throughout the season.
Sky Sports netball expert and columnist, Tamsin Greenway, noted that Kumwenda performed so well against Courtney Bruce who is among the toughest in Australia.
“The other big influence was Mwawi Kumwenda at shooter, who took the MVP [most valuable player] award away from the final and was outstanding. She was up against Courtney Bruce, who is difficult to play against and Bruce is the type of player who you know you have been in a contest with come the end of the game.
“Kumwenda managed that so well and some of her takes were truly exceptional. Vixens had the ability to weather that and did so in their attack end. Kumwenda’s movement complemented Thwaites, on top of that Watson and Moloney’s workrate drove their output and their accuracy was spot on,” reads part of Greenway’s analysis.
Publ Australia’s theguardian.com also commended Kumwenda for putting in arguably the finest performance of her career on the biggest of stages, in the strangest of seasons.
“Disciplined, consistently putting ‘we before me’, cool under pressure and showing just a bit of mongrel when required, she embodied everything on which Victorian netball prides itself. She was a deserved MVP in a heart-stopping spectacle befitting the best netball league in the world. While the Victorian influence on Kumwenda’s game was obvious, her own distinctive skill set, refined on the world stage in Malawi colours and during a stint with the Canterbury Tactix in New Zealand, was also on full technicolour display.
“In one standout moment in the second quarter, taking a seemingly impossible feed, she performed a graceful netballing arabesque, some h o w balancing on one leg before duly sinking the shot – all without getting called for held ball. Broadcaster Liz Ellis aptly described the feat as defying ‘the law of physics’. Not bad for a player who only ‘got serious’ about netball at age 17 and left everything she knew behind to pursue her dreams,” reads a report on the online publication.
Kumwenda returned to action early this year after a devastating injury in the second last round of the 2018 season.
Recovering from a knee reconstruction, she sat the majority of the 2019 season out before making a triumphant return to the court in round 10.
The former Kukoma Diamonds star said she did not believe that returning to action was possible after two years on the sidelines.
“Two years ago, I was in the hospital for the first time in my life. I thought I could not play netball again. I found inspiration from my team and in myself to work hard.
“This grand final was two years of hard work and I am very blessed for being where I am today. We did it! And it means the world to me,” Kumwenda said.