Kukoma Diamonds’ player Sheila Dimba is in a dilemma on whether to fulfil club assignments in GOtv Netball Champions League tomorrow or honour women football national team call-up ahead of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Cup in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Dimba, who plays for Lilongwe-based national women football champions Skippers FC, is expected to be in the national women’s football team camp at Chiwembe in Blantyre on Sunday.
She is also supposed to play for Diamonds in the GOtv Netball Champions League’s first-round at the Blantyre Youth Centre.
Though there are no regulations in both women football and netball, binding players to one sports discipline, Dimba has running contracts with both Diamonds and Skippers.
“I really do not know what to do because I love both sports disciplines. It was my wish to feature in both netball and football competitions,” said Dimba after being notified about the development yesterday.
“However, I know Diamonds and women football officials will discuss the matter amicably and I am keeping my fingers crossed that all will end well for me. In spite of that, I am proud that God gave me both talents.”
Diamonds coach Griffin Saenda said the club will wait for women football authorities to make an official request to use their player.
“I am yet to be communicated about the matter. However, we employed Dimba as our player, who makes Diamonds’ first line up while in football, I believe, it is just her free time hobby. Therefore, her priority should be the impending GOtv Netball contest,” he said.
On her part, National Women Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Severia Chalira said she does not think Diamonds would deny Dimba an opportunity of representing the country on the international stage.
“We will liaise with Diamonds and Netball Association of Malawi [NAM] to let the player join camp. Women football call-up is a national team assignment, which should be respected above any club’s needs. You never know where Dimba’s future lies and a chance for international exposure should not be denied,” she said.
Chalira, however, admitted that the conflict of interest has emerged due to lack of professional women football set-up.
In the Cosafa Cup, Malawi is in group A alongside hosts Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Zambia.
The Malawi women’s national football team squad has 32 players, including overseas professionals—Sweden-based Tabitha Chawinga and Austria-based Chisomo Kazisonga—who are expected to join camp of Friday next week, according to Chalira.
The full squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Thoko Mwase, Memory Gama, Martha Banda and Mercy Sikelo. Defenders: Fatsireni Kazembe, Emily Jossam, Chikondi Duwe, Eluby Bottoman, Wezzie Mvula, Ruth Nyirongo, Chimwemwe Madisi, Maureen Phiri, Sylvia Phiri, Patricia Nyirenda and Cecilia Mughogho. Midfielders: Lucy Chiumia, Sungeni Msiska, Pilirani Malora, Madina Ngulube, Fanny Mwale, Dimba, Sabina Thom, Mwai Ziba and Chimwemwe Sapangwa. Strikers: Temwa Chawinga, Mary Chabvinda, Zione Robert, Naomi Mwale, Chikondi Gondwe, Carlo Mathyola, Tabitha and Kazisonga. n