Despite being ruled out of the forthcoming Africa Netball Championship, Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda appears on the list of players called up for Malawi Queens’ camp training which is scheduled to start today in Blantyre.
Her manager Hlupikile Chalamba told The Nation a few days ago that the free-scoring shooter would not be available for the continental showpiece scheduled for June 24 to 30 in Uganda due to club commitments at Melbourne Vixens, where she hopes to lead them to Suncorp Super Netball title.
However, she is among the 10 shooters in the 30-player Queens squad that the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) released yesterday to begin their preparations at the Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC).
But Queens’ assistant coach Samuel Kanyenda yesterday described Mwawi’s inclusion as a mere unforeseen error because the Griffin Saenda-led technical panel presented the squad to NAM before she excused herself from national duty.
“Mwawi will be absent both in camp and the actual continental championship. However, her name appears on our list because we presented the squad to NAM before she made her decision,” he said.
Nevertheless, the country’s other netball export Joyce Mvula, who plays for English club Manchester Thunder, is expected to join the squad which has been dominated by domestic champions Kukoma Diamonds.
Diamonds has contributed at least 10 players followed by Thunder Queens (six), Tigresses (five), Civonets (three), Blue Eagles Sisters (two) and Prison Sisters (one).
The squad has seen the return of Queens’ and Diamonds captain Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, who missed last year’s international events due to a maternity break. It is the same scenario that has now prevented another Queens’ and Diamonds star goal-attacker Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya from being called into camp.
Tigresses’ want-away defender Laureen Ngwira has found her way into the squad despite being inactive in domestic competitions for the better part of last season due to a contractual dispute with her club over her decision to join Alliance Capital Stars.
Beauty Basiyao (Tigresses), Juliet Sambo (Blue Eagles Sisters), Brenda Lwanda, Colleta Mwalilimo (Civonets) and Ethel Ng’ambi (Prison Sisters) are the notable new faces in the squad.
According to NAM general secretary Carol Bapu, the Queens, who have Jane Kachali as team manager and Junior Kazembe as team doctor, will start camp in the absence of head coach Saenda, who will be available upon his return from China towards the end of this month.
The following is the full squad: Defenders: Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Mtukule-Ngwira, Wezzie Mzembe-Msiska, Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Ngwira, Catherine Yikwanga, Basiyao, Joanna Kachilika, Martha Dambo, Sambo, Lwanda, Mwalilimo; Centres: Sheila Dimba, Bridget Kumwenda, Enelecce Mdezo, Beatrice Mpinganjira, Takondwa Lwazi , Thandi Galeta, Pilirani Msuka, Rose Mkanda; Shooters: Kumwenda, Mvula, Jane Chimaliro, Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi, Alinafe Kamwala, Sarudzai Gondwe, Grace Chazungulira, Chikumbutso Banda, Emily Jere and Ng’ambi.