New Zealand netball outfit Tactix has turned down Netball Association of Malawi’s (NAM) request to release goal shooter Mwawi Kumwenda for the Diamonds Netball Challenge and Africa Netball Championship (ANC) next month due to club commitments.
NAM general secretary Carol Bapu wrote the New Zealand club on May 13 requesting the star shooter’s release for three tournaments, including the World Championship, but Tactix have said they will only release Mwawi after the conclusion of ANZ Championship at the end of next June.
This effectively means the gangly shooter will miss the Diamonds Netball Challenge which will run from June 21 to 25 in Durban, South Africa and the ANC to be hosted by Namibia from June 28 to July 3, but will be available for the World Championship.
“This letter is to request for your kind consideration to release Ms. Mwawi Kumwenda to participate in the above listed international assignments without loss of pay from 1 June 2015 to 25 August 2015.
“It is our sincere wish that you shall allow Ms. Kumwenda to join the national team during the camping and participating in the international assignments which shall benefit and improve netball in Malawi,” reads part of the letter from NAM which The Nation has seen.
However, in their response dated May 13, Tactix through Leanne Harris wrote: “The ANZ Championships do not conclude until the end of June. So, Mwawi will need to remain in NZ [New Zealand] until then.
“Her contract with the Tactix is through until the end of July, but we are happy to release her from the end of June so she can begin her World Cup preparations with Malawi. [However], In order to obtain a working visa for New Zealand, Mwawi’s flights had to be confirmed last year and are now unable to be changed. She will be returning to Malawi on the 8th July.”
Bapu yesterday confirmed that Mwawi will miss the two competitions.
“We would have loved to have her for all the tournaments, but then our hands are tied because unlike football, international netball rules are silent on the release of players for national duty.
“Nevertheless, the solace is that she will be available for the World Championship which is the biggest tournament,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mwawi’s cousin Hlupikire Chalamba, who is also her manager, has said they are surprised that NAM has gone ahead to recall Mwawi without addressing other outstanding issues.
Chalamba said NAM’s warning letter did not address pertinent issues that were raised such as the request to be furnished with the player’s contract with NAM as well as the netball governing body’s constitution.
“In that way, her obligations to NAM can be clearly outlined. In absence of that, Mwawi cannot be in breach of her obligations. She was also not given a chance to be heard by an impartial decision maker.
“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”.
However, in response, the NAM GS insisted that in as far as they are concerned the issue is a closed chapter.