Tigresses have spoken out against Blantyre and Districts Netball League’s (BDNL) decision to give them five games within six days in the Rainbow Paints League, arguing the fixture pile-up is a health hazard to their players.
The team’s coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua made the statement yesterday after being given two games to play this Saturday against Thunder Queens and Shizaella Queens at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC). This comes after playing three other matches last Sunday when they thrashed Machinjiri Sisters 125-13, Polytechnic Sisters 84-21 and Prison Sisters 61-42.
Tigresses were the only side that remained with more than two games to conclude their fixtures in the 10-team league after the BDNL froze their games to first sort out the eligibility of Tigresses player Laureen Ngwira, who was loaned out to the now-defunct English top-league side Team Northumbria despite Tigresses not authorising the deal.
“We are not happy with the way the fixtures are being arranged because there is no way, in normal circumstances, a team can play five games in a space of six days. That is uncalled for, but we have chosen to keep quiet,” she said.
On the eligibility of Ngwira, Chawinga-Kalua said they are waiting for the Southern Region Netball Committee (SRNC) to make a decision on their appeal after not being satisfied with the BDNL’s ruling that the player is not eligible to feature for Tigresses this season despite Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) clarifying on her status.
BDNL stated that the local netball governing body convinced them that Ngwira is indeed a Tigresses player, but she still cannot play in the league because ‘Tiga’ did not register her for this season.
Meanwhile, SRNC chairperson Judith Chalusa says the decision on whether Ngwira should feature in Tigresses’ remaining two league games will be made this Saturday.
On Tigresses’ complaint that the fixture pile-up affects Tigresses players, BDNL Disciplinary Committee chairperson Chimwemwe Bakali said they would not comment because the team has not made an official complaint to the league.
Last year, Ngwira was loaned out to Northumbria without Tigresses’ consent and upon her return home, she was no longer welcomed in domestic competitions.
The controversy surrounding her status prompted BDNL to release Rainbow Paints League fixtures for weeks without including Tigresses, arguing they had to first resolve the issue to avoid “putting the league into disrepute”.