Why is netball letting Mwawi keep it at ransom?
Mwawi Kumwenda a fine netballer of international repute — no doubt about it. She became so because of her association with the Malawi Queens but it’s unfortunate that she picked up issues with Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) to the extent that she refuses to report for international duties.
The wrangle between her and Nam has been blown out of proportion even though the issues she raised may have made sense at that time. By failing to reach a compromise, I believe both parties are just trying to protect their egos — and that’s very unfortunate.
Malawi netball is so good that it attracted a lot of attention from the world’s superpowers like New Zealand, Australia, England and Jamaica. Mwawi was signed by an Australian team during a youth tournament in Jamaica. After exposing her prowess in Australia, she attracted the attention of her current New Zealand team, Tactix.
Whenever she is playing against any team, the attention is on her. Coaches study her style and give their defenders the tactics to deal with her and when they still fail, they make sure the ones who feed her the ball are rendered ineffective.
The superpower teams like to win against strong sides in order to prove their supremacy — not against minnows. The Queens are slowly drifting into mediocre and there is a need to do something about it and Mwawi is not the solution.
She will never be there forever. We had legends in the likes of Mary Waya, Peace Chawinga and many others who bowed out of the game in grace and today they are coaches and they still hold their legendary status around the world.
Mwawi is spoken almost in the same breath as Mary and Peace and she can still hold that status as long as she continues to feature for the Queens as well as her New Zealand team.
Glamour for international tournaments is created by club players but that should never make Mwawi think she is above Malawi netball. Nam should not be kept at ransom by an individual. It should scout for Mwawi’s replacement.
Our netball needs to be revitalised in many sections of it like creating conducive infrastructure that can attract many youths to take up the sport. The current situation where teams play on open and hard surface courts can never inspire many to take up the sport.
More players with flair like Mwawi’s can be tapped from the rural areas if give good infrastructure. Mary Waya is running a netball academy with funding from Old Mutual. This is also where talent can be tapped from.
Minister of Sports Grace Chiumia says she is intervening in Mwawi’s saga with Nam. I think that’s a waste of energy. The Minister is supposed to handle netball in a bigger perspective like empowering its infrastructure and sourcing funding to sponsor teams.
Netball players in the country just love the sport because there is really no profitable financial reward from it. The powers that be including the minister should be worried about this rather than on Mwawi.
Let her be and innovation on trying to please Mwawi’s ego.
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