Malawi Queens coach Mary Waya has dropped two key and experienced players Beatrice Mpinganijira and Joana Kachilika in her 15-player squad that starts camp training tomorrow ahead of Fast5 Netball Series in New Zealand from November 7.
The two players have always been in the Queens’ final squad for over five years, save for Mpinganjira’s omission from last year’s contest due to a ban that the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) imposed on Complex Tigresses players.
Before the latest incident, wing attacker Mpinganjira was, along with Queens’ captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira, the longest serving member of the national team. The two have been the Queens’ stars since 2008 when they travelled to New Zealand for the World Netball Cup.
Lofty defender Kachilika, who plays for MTL Queens at club level, has been in the squad for almost five years.
However, Waya has recalled Diamonds’ centre Bridget Kumwenda into the team and has slotted in four new faces; Beauty Nyangulu (Civonets), Grace Chazungulira (diamonds), Martha Dambo (MTL Queens) and Lissie Akidu(Tigresses). Kumwenda missed out from the squad that took part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in July.
When asked if the dropping of Mpinganjira and Kachilika would not negatively impact the Malawi Queens’ campaign to improve on their fifth position on the world netball rankings, Waya yesterday said it is too early for her to answer such questions.
“Don’t you think it is too early to start asking me such questions? Why don’t you just publish the names you are presented with first and do that after watching one of our training sessions?
“I will not comment on that because it is like starting to buy a baby boy’s clothes when you are not quite sure a woman would give birth to a boy or a girl,” said Waya, who is being assisted by Connis Mhone.
Nevertheless, Mpinganjira said she is not worried with her omission from the team while Kachilika refused to comment on the matter.
Mpinganjira said: “I am not worried because I know that is how life goes sometimes. It is up to the coaches to decide on who they believe would help them achieve success.”
Professional shooter Mwawi Kumwenda, who plays for Tactix of New Zealand; Diamonds defenders Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo; Tigresses’ defenders Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango and Laureen Ngwira alongside shooter Sindi Simtowe; Blue Eagles’ Takondwa Lwazi and Cecilia Mtukule; Tina Kamzati and Jane Chimaliro of Civonets are the regulars that have been maintained.
According to NAM general secretary Carol Bapu, the team will start camp training tomorrow at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) with funding from the Queens’ official corporate sponsors Airtel Money. She said government is also set to provide funding to the team.
The Malawi Queens will be in camp until November 2 when they will leave for the international showpiece.