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Why Malawi can’t export netballers

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Malawi’s prospect of exporting more netballers looks hazy due to junior national netball teams’ and the Queens’ irregular appearances in international competitions. Lack of scouts makes matters worse.

Limited funds means that the Queens last made an appearance on the international stage in November whereas the Under-21 was revived this year after six years in coma.

Currently, New Zealand-based Mwawi Kumwenda is the only Malawi netball export. Other countries such as Botswana and Uganda are exporting more players despite being ranked below Africa’s second best and the world’s sixth best team, the Queens.

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Ugandan Peace Proscovia plays for English club, Loughborough Lightning, whereas Kagisano Mawela and Tebogo Radipotsane from Botswana signed for a club in Singapore.

South Africans Maryka Holtzhausen, Bongiwe Msomi, Phumza Maweni, Lenize Potgieter and Karla Mostert have also signed for English teams over the years.

Netball Association of Malawi president, Rosy Chinunda, recently said some foreign teams show interest in Malawian players, but hardly make an official approach.

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Sue Hawkins, coach for New Zealand side, Mainland Tactix, Mwawi’s former employer before she switched to Australian team Melbourne Vixens, explained on whether they might scout in Malawi again.

“We have filled our import player position for 2017, however, I will keep eyes open for the following year 2018, at the next World Youth Cup in 2017 in July. This is where Mwawi was sighted at the World Youth Cup in Cook Islands,” Hawkins explained.

“What scouts will look for in a player is natural flare and an ability to take risks in a game. They must be in the national team and have dedication to work in all areas of their game. Height is not always a factor but good hand-eye skills are critical.”

Sadly, Malawi Under-21 team did not qualify for the World Youth Cup after finishing sixth during a recent continental qualifying tournament in Botswana. The Queens are also set to participate in Fast5 World Netball Series at the end of the month. But generally, the team is unable to play regularly.

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