Malawi National Netball Team’s quest for Cosana Tri- Nations title has suffered a blow as the Queens will be without Melbourne Vixens shooter Mwawi Kumwenda and departing Manchester Thunder star Joyce Mvula for the five-day tournament.
The development comes after the Queens regrouped on Thursday but started training Friday ahead of the ranking tournament.
The tournament, which will attract Namibia and Zimbabwe, will throw-off tomorrow at Kamuzu University for Health Sciences (Kuhes) Sports Complex.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) Vice President Chimwemwe Bakali confirmed that Mwawi will not be part of the squad taking part in the Tri-Nations tournament whereas Mvula’s travel itinerary was yet to be completed.
“Officially, Mwawi is not there because the season is still on in Australia. As for Joyce, we were told that she can leave on June 13 so we were trying to push for her earlier release. Joyce is still contracted to Manchester Thunder up until her contract expires in few day’s time so we had to follow procedures,” he said.
However, sources said Nam delayed in asking for permission and the player can arrive in the country on June 15 or 16, making her a huge doubt for the tournament.
Bakali said goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo of Strathclyde Sirens will likely be part of the squad, having arrived in the country last week.
“Towera is around and we expect her to be part of the team during the Cosana tournament,” he said.
Bakali said Nam had to break Queens’ camp for almost a week due to financial challenge.
“Ideally, we were supposed to continue with camping but we opted to have a break as resources were not on our side,” he said.
Queens Coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said she will give a proper update later as she was finalising logistics to start training Friday.
However, netball analyst Desire Kambewa said Nam was undermining the tournament.
“I don’t think we planned for this tournament. How can you start camp and train for a week then break a week prior to the tournament? As for the clearances of foreign based players, Nam was supposed to do that some time back.
“In this case, I can sympathise with the technical panel because they do not have a full squad for a ranking tournament. This is a tournament we needed to do well. The Queens need to improve their ranking having finished second in Pent Series and third in Africa Netball Championship last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will arrive through Mwanza border today whereas Namibia will jet in at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.