Legendary coach Mary Waya’s one-year contract with Africa’s number one netball outfit, the Queens, has expired; barely four months before the 2015 World Championship throws off in New Zealand.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda confirmed the expiry while hoping to have it extended for another year. The contract expired mid-February.
“I am certain that all members of the coaching panel would love her to continue working for the team. We are acting with speed to renew the contracts. We need to do something to entice her to stay. As for the assessment of their performance, we are still consulting,” explained Chinunda.
Waya was elusive to comment on her flirtations with the world’s fifth ranked team. From last week, she said she was preoccupied. Connis Mhone was her assistant. They work as part-time coaches without a salary.
Waya, who runs Mary Waya Academy, returned two weeks ago from Tanzania where she was reportedly drilling some teams as a consultant. She once coached the Tanzanian national netball team leading them to a cup glory.
Queens fan Zione Mzungu of Lilongwe yesterday said Waya deserved another chance, saying: “While the team struggled towards the end, this cannot be blamed on her. There were many things to do with players’ welfare that contributed.”
The international media such as the BBC call Waya a global netball icon. Under her reign, the Queens are winless in over eight games in all competitions since last November.
Malawi surrendered the 2013 Africa Championship to rivals South Africa who went on to once again beat Malawi at the 2014 World Netball Series in New Zealand. South Africa is also in Malawi’s group at the World Cup this August in New Zealand.
The absence of New Zealand-based star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda has been cited as among the causes for the struggles. NAM warned Kumwenda recently for boycotting the Queens games over players’ welfare.
Going forward, Chinunda said they hope to tune up for the World Championship through matches in South Africa (next month) and also the Africa Netball Championship this June in Namibia.