Malawi professional netballer Mwawi Kumwenda has signed a new contract with Australian top-flight league giants Melbourne Vixens after a year of inactivity due to an injury and has vowed to come stronger in the 2020 season.
There was a cloud of uncertainty over her future with the club after she fell on the perking order as she was recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury she suffered in July last year after landing awkwardly during Vixens’ Suncorp Super Netball League match against West Coast Fever.
However, Vixens’ have decided to give the 30-year-old a chance to spearhead the club’s attack for the 2020 season alongside other experienced players Tegan Philip and Caitlin Thwaites.
“I always wanted to play for the Vixens. So, this is a dream come true! I am so happy to re-sign for next year,” Mwawi stated on her Facebook page after the announcement last weekend.
“The players and staff have helped me in a difficult year, but together we worked hard and now I am happy to get back on court.”
The player could not be reached yesterday for comment, but she was quoted by Australian publication Herald Sun as saying, she wants to make an impact next year.
“It means a lot to me because I have come from a long way
. This year was difficult for me not to play. It was hard for me coming back from this injury because I have never been injured,” said Mwawi.
“I am feeling very strong. I am still training so next year I can come back very strong for this challenge.”
The lofty Malawi Queens shooter, who has returned for a fourth season with the Vixens, played a limited role for her Australian club after her injury, having been given varying degrees of court time in the last six games of the 2019 season, including the 60-47 loss to NSW Swifts in the Super Netball preliminary final last month.
Vixens’ high performance manager Bek Webster told theage.com.au that Mwawi has been a great member of their programme and they love to have her at the club moving forward.
“We want the opportunity to work towards getting her back to where she was and building on that,” he was quoted as saying.
Mwawi’s manager Hlupikile Chalamba said: “The contract renewal is great news as it shows that Vixens have trust in her capabilities and hard work.”
Malawi national team coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa on Monday described Kumwenda’s new deal as proof that Vixens rate highly the 2015 Netball World Cup Player of the Tournament.
“It is not easy to make it back into the squad of a top-class international netball league side after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] injury. “This shows Mwawi means a lot to the Vixens and they bank on her exceptional talent in the next season,” she said.
Chawinga-Kaluwa added that Mwawi’s recovery will be a big boost to the national netball team, which is expected to compete at the African Netball Championships in South Africa next week.
The former Kukoma Diamonds shooter became Malawi’s first professional netball player when she moved from domestic league side Escom Sisters (Kukoma Diamonds) and joined Australian club Peninsula Waves following her impressive shooting skills during the Netball World Youth Cup in Cook’s Island.
Now, the country has three professionals as Joyce Mvula and Laureen Ngwira have signed for English top league outfit Manchester Thunder.