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Trusted queen

Mwawi Kumwenda extends Vixens stay

Malawi national netball team star shooter, Mwawi Kumwenda, has signed a year-long contract extension with her Australian club, Melbourne Vixens.

The club’s website reports that Vixens’ dominant goal circle would remain with Mwawi, Tegan Philip and Caitlin Thwaites who had re-signed for the 2020 season.

“The three became well acquainted at the backend of the 2019 season when ‘MJ’ (Kumwenda) returned in Round 11 from her ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] injury,” the report reads.

It quotes Mwawi as expressing excitement with the development.

“I am so happy to re-sign with the Vixens who have been a team I always wanted to be a part of–this is a dream come true. The players and staff have really helped me in a difficult year after I did my ACL, but together we worked hard and got to the end and I cannot wait to get back out on court with them next year,” she was quoted as saying.

The development comes despite the Queens icon missing action for over a year due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury to her left knee after landing awkwardly during a match against West Coast Fever in July last year.

She was substituted in the third quarter of the match and the long lay-off saw her missing this year’s World Netball Cup in Liverpool, England.

Mwawi has since recovered but is yet to regain the form that catapulted her world fame.

The 30-year-old said she was excited with the extension as she was enjoying her stay at the Australian club.

“I always wanted to play for Melbourne Vixens, so this is a dream come true. I am so happy to re-sign for next year. The players and staff have helped me in a difficult year but together we worked hard and now I am happy to get out on court,” Mwawi wrote on her Facebook post.

Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary, Carol Bapu, said the extension was good for both Mwawi and the country.

“It shows that the club appreciates Mwawi’s contribution. It is not easy to get a contract extension and it proves that the player is still performing well,” Bapu said.

The Mzimba-born star was originally noticed at the 2009 Netball World Youth Cup where she was one of Malawi’s most prolific shooters.

She drew the attention of Peninsula Waves Coach, Maxine Wauchope, and was invited to play club netball in Victoria, Australia.

She also attracted the attention of Canterbury Tactix Coach, Leigh Gibbs, in New Zealand.

In September 2013, Mwawi became the first African netballer to player for an ANZ Championship franchise when she clinched a deal with Tactix in 2014.

In the 2014 ANZ Championship season, Kumwenda burst onto the international scene and amassing more goals than any other shooter in the competition.

She shot above 90 per cent on a regular basis, won the ANZ Championship’s Best New Talent award, along with a slew of awards from Tactix before signing again for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

After three years with Tactix, Mwawi signed for Australian Suncorp Super Netball league side Vixens.

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