Netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda put an icing on Malawi Queens’ historic third place finish at the Fast5 World Netball Series in Australia by finishing as the tournament’s top scorer.
The gangly goal shooter had a total of 151 points—22 ahead of her runner-up Susan Pettit, captain for eventual champions New Zealand.
Mwawi, who is set to start a new lease of life at Australian top club Vixens, yesterday said she was excited with her feat.
“Of course, I am happy for being top scorer, but what matters most is my contribution towards helping my country to scale new greater heights by finishing third at a world tournament for the first time ever,” she said.
Mwawi has also finally received her 2015 International World Games Association (IWGA) Athlete of the Year Award.
“I am so proud and excited that I have finally received IWGA award. It was handed over to me yesterday at a brief ceremony.
“Once again, I would like to express my deep appreciation to all those who voted for me. I do not take it for granted,” she said.
This is the third time in two years for Mwawi to win an international award. Last year, she was named Player of the Tournament during the Netball World Cup (NWC) in Australia.
Meanwhile, President Peter Mutharika and Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa have hailed the Queens for their feat.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, the President stated he was proud of the Queens’ achievement.
“What makes this year’s feat even more satisfying is that the Queens have managed to see-off teams that have been giving them problems in the past such as England, Jamaica and South Africa.
“No person or statistic can dispute the fact that there is no better netball team on the African continent than our own. Well done girls, you remain our pride,” reads part of the statement.
On his part, Mussa said: “We are very proud of our girls, to finish third above teams such as England and Jamaica, is no easy feat.”
In a related development, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda has said they have planned a heroes’ welcome for the Queens who are expected to arrive at 1.15pm today through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
“They deserve a special welcome and we are arranging that and we are in touch with the Queens official sponsors Airtel Money. Surprisingly, some people who were turning their backs on us when we needed their support, are now phoning us to enquire about the programme,” she said.
The NAM president also said she was not surprised that the team performed beyond expectations.
“Before they left, I spoke to them individually, especially the senior players such as Mwawi, Grace [Mwafulirwa-Mhango] and Towera [Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda], asking them to give out something extra and they assured me that they were going to play their lungs out.”n