- Named World Cup best player as Queens retain sixth slot
Malawi’s sole netball export Mwawi Kumwenda on Sunday basked in the global limelight when she was named player of the tournament at the just-ended Netball World Cup (NWC) in Sydney, Australia as her romantic flirtation with the game reached new lofty heights.
Just a week prior to the world showpiece, there was a cloud of uncertainty over her participation following a protracted fallout with the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) and she has used the global showcase to prove that she is indispensable—the stuff that dreams are made of.
The development comes as a timely solace for the Queens who failed to break into the top four, let alone topple South Africa’s Spar Proteas after going down 48-46 in the early hours of yesterday.
During the 10 days of the showpiece, Mwawi gave opposing defenders a torrid time, with both skill and rhythm—a spectacular display of brilliance, so stunning in its quality it should have only been fit for the eyes of the angels in their flight.
“I am very excited and I dedicate this award to my country and teammates because without them, I couldn’t have achieved this feat,” said the New Zealand-based goal-shooter from Sydney yesterday soon after being crowned queen of the court and player of the tournament.
Mwawi’s sheer quality shone like a beacon at the tournament with 321 baskets and her achievement keeps the award on the continent following South African Erin Burger’s similar feat four years ago.
According to nwc2015.com.au, as the most prolific shooter of the tournament:
“it is not only the 91 percent accuracy, but the volume that Kumwenda puts up with 351 goals and only 31 misses in eight games over 10 days.”
In Sunday’s game, Mwawi converted 36 of her 41 attempts while Sindi Simtowe netted 10, missing just one. It was a sweet revenge for South Africa following their 58-51 loss to the Queens on the opening day of the tournament.
The Queens led 21-11 in the first quarter, but trailed 23-21 at half time.
Malawi’s small statured, but incredibly quick and agile centre TakondwaLwazi, helped direct the play in the third quarter. Her mid-court dominance assisted Mwawi and Simtowe to get back to their well-oiled attacking partnership and the Queens led the quarter 15-12.
“The fifth and sixth ranked teams headed into a tight final term, Malawi leading 36-35.
“South Africa took the lead in the first half of the quarter, but a late surge from Kumwenda evened the scores for the 21st time in the match. The growing crowd amped up in the final term, but South Africa were able to keep focused and determined, pushing hard to the final whistle blow to seal the epic 48-46 victory,” reads part of the nwc2015.com.au report.