The international press has been full of praise for Malawi netball export to Australia, Mwawi Kumwenda, following her impressive performance on Sunday as her team Melbourne Vixens won the Suncorp Netball Championship.
Vixens emerged triumphant after seeing off West Coast Fever 66-64.
Mwawi’s pictures were splashed in some major global news outlets.
In its Tuesday edition, The Guardian of England said Kumwenda put up a “technicolour display,” and “embodied everything on which Victorian netball prides itself”.
Vixens is based in the State of Victoria in Australia.
Reads part of the report: “While the Victorian influence on Kumwenda’s game was obvious, her own distinctive skill set, refined on the world stage in Malawi colours and during a stint with the Canterbury Tactix in New Zealand, was also on full technicolour display.
“In one standout moment in the second quarter, taking a seemingly impossible feed, she performed a graceful netballing arabesque, somehow balancing on one leg before duly sinking the shot—all without getting called for held ball.”
The Guardian continued to shower praise on the gangly goal shooter, saying matching up on one of the world’s premier keepers in West Coast Fever captain Courtney Bruce, Mwawi put in arguably the finest performance of her career on the biggest of stages, in the strangest of seasons.
Broadcaster Liz Ellis of BBC News Stroke aptly described the feat as “defying the law of physics”.
The Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au) also had words of praise for Kumwenda in its October 18 edition.
Part of the report read: “Player of the Match Mwawi Kumwenda defied the laws of physics to take a pass close to goal simultaneously on one leg and bending low to the ground.”
Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said Kumwenda’s performance was key to the club’s championship victory.
“MJ [Kumwenda] got player of the match and deserved it. MJ played a critical role. But also with the feeders not having any fear putting the ball over to MJ because she’s going to get it, and she did…and finished it really well, “ she was quoted as having said.
While much of the focus in the lead-up to the grand final was on Vixens retiring shooting stars Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip, it was the hardworking Kumwenda who stole the show by converting 47 from 50 attempts to inspire her side to an emotive 66-64 win.
It was a great pay back performance for Kumwenda to her team which offered her a new contract despite missing action for the better part of last season due to a serious knee injury.
“I thank God for everything He has done for me. Mulungu si munthu. I am glad to be part of this successful team,” said Kumwenda in an interview from Australia.