In a new twist to Malawi’s sole netball export Mwawi Kumwenda’s saga, her family has stressed that unless the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) entirely withdraws its warning letter over her alleged indiscipline, she is not ready to return for national duty.
The development means the New Zealand-based gangly shooter could miss the biggest global netball showcase—the 2015 edition of the Netball World Cup—scheduled to run from August 7 to 16 in Sydney, Australia.
Mwawi, who flew into the country Wednesday afternoon for off-season holiday, said she would go by whatever decision her family makes.
Mwawi’s cousin Hlupikire Chalamba, who acts as her manager and legal adviser, and the netball star’s brother Moses Kumwenda, yesterday said as long as NAM does not address the concerns that were raised by the family, Mwawi will not return to the Queens.
Said the brother: “When we discussed the issue with NAM surrounding Mwawi’s absence for national duty, there were issues that we raised, but surprisingly, as we were waiting for their [NAM] response, they wrote her a warning letter and subsequently included her in the Queens’ call-up.
“As a family, we felt the warning letter had no basis because Mwawi explained to them the reasons she missed the Fast5 World Netball Series in New Zealand last year. She is not a slave where their [NAM’s] view is important than hers.”
He added: “She will not play unless these issues are thoroughly addressed. Otherwise, she is ready and willing to serve her nation, but not before the record is put straight”.
On her part, Chalamba said pertinent issues such as the basis of the warning and provision of the player’s contract with NAM as well as its constitution have not been addressed.
“In that way, her obligations to NAM can clearly be outlined [and] in the absence of that, Mwawi cannot be in breach of her obligations.
“The process of arriving at the disciplinary action was flawed and unfounded. NAM’s letter accused her of indiscipline, which was a serious allegation that constitutes a dent on her career.”
In a brief interview, the gangly netballer, who arrived alongside her mother, said: “I am glad to be back home. I would love to resume playing for my country, but I have left everything in the hands of my family. To me, this is a delicate issue and I need their guidance.”
However, NAM general secretary Carol Bapu yesterday expressed surprise at the family’s stance.
“I do not think we can comment much on this issue; otherwise, to us it is water under the bridge and that is why we recalled Mwawi.
“We do not have any problem with her and if she has a problem then she will come to us,” said Bapu.
NAM wrote Mwawi a stern warning letter which questioned her integrity. Part of which read: “You are not exemplary. Your integrity is questionable. And whether on New Zealand club Tactix assignment or not, you remain and shall always remain NAM property.”
Mwawi has not played for the Queens for a year now and her absence has been heavily felt as evidenced by the team’s poor results.