Queens Coach withdraws over Mwawi Kumwenda’s exclusion
Malawi national netball team’s preparations for the Fast5 Netball World Series, scheduled for Australia, have suffered a setback after Coach Sam Kanyenda withdrew from the Queens’ camp over Netball Association of Malawi’s (Nam) alleged interference.
The bone of contention is Friday’s expulsion of the Queens’ star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda from camp for reporting late on Thursday against a deadline of Monday which Kanyenda set.
Kanyenda confirmed to have set the recall of the Australia’s Melbourne Vixens shooter (Mwawi) as a pre-condition for his stay in camp.
“Technically, I am out of the squad and I will be leaving for Lilongwe tomorrow [today]. I want to have a free-hand. Decisions should not be imposed on us. I want to go [to Australia] with a team which will compete and not merely participate.
“Having finished third in last’s year’s competition, we needed to go with a full-strength side to maximise our chances of finishing in the top-two. I think if it were a disciplinary issue, we could have found an alternative way of dealing with it. We needed to go with Mwawi because she is an inspiration. She motivates other players because she plays with top players,” Kanyenda said.
Some years ago, Mwawi also courted controversy after she publicly hit at Nam for failing to pay players their allowances.
As if the latest incident is not enough, the Queens also risked losing Manchester Thunder shooter Joyce Mvula after her parent side, Blue Eagles Sisters, recalled her due to frustration over lack of recognition from Nam.
A source said Eagles wanted Nam to recognise Mvula as a player for the Lilongwe cops and not Thunder of England.
This follows Nam’s stance to bar Mvula from featuring for Eagles in the just-ended GOtv Netball Champions League on the grounds that she was a player for Thunder. Eagles insist that the player went to England on loan.
“Besides that, Mvula’s loan contract expired in July and it will be renewed when Thunder require her services in the new season. So, Eagles are still paying her salary,” the source said.
Nam General Secretary, Carol Bapu, refused to comment on issues surrounding Kanyenda, Mwawi and Mvula.
A visit by The Daily Times to the team’s lodging place, Comfort Inn at Chichiri in Blantyre, found players in low spirits with some wandering about within the premises whereas others just sat at the reception.
Yesterday’s morning training session at Blantyre Youth Centre was also affected by the unrest, as only Assistant Coach, Mary Waya, took charge of the proceedings.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Duncan Mwapasa, Monday said Mvula has since been ordered to play for the national team.
“It is just unfortunate that Nam barred the player from taking part in the GOtv tournament. There were some contractual issues between Eagles and Manchester Thunder which Nam did not consider. However, the matter has been sorted out and Mvula will now be with the team,” he said.
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