History tends to repeat itself. On Friday, the netball fraternity had a rude awakening when news filtered in that Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) had sent back home Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda for reporting late for training.
NAM general secretary Carol Bapu was so diplomatic on the issue. She simply confirmed the upshot, saying the player had violated rules and regulations, but refused to discuss the case in the media.
Obviously, she did not want to discuss the issue, lest she further complicate issues further since different versions have been given on the player’s absence from the national team training.
Just last week, the player was quoted by The Daily Times as having said that she was not aware of the camp since NAM did not personally contract her.
But earlier this week the player told The Nation that she informed NAM well in advance that she was going to join camp late as she had to complete her charity commitment assignment of donating sports equipment to selected schools.
Indeed, Queens coach Sam Kanyenda confirmed in another interview with The Nation that Mwawi and captain Diamonds defender Carol Mtukule Ngwira were the only faces in the 20-player squad that were not available on the first day of the preparations as they had some personal issues to settle.
The decision to expel Mwawi has led to an outcry from netball fans.
Most of them vented their anger on social media, calling for NAM to reverse its decision.
“It’s already too late for NAM to make such decisions. If Mwawi was in the wrong, is expelling her the only solution? And from what I read in the papers, she sought permission to report late for training,” ardent netball follower Zione Elven Mzungu posted on Malawi Netball Lovers Facebook page.
“Sometimes I wonder what happens at NAM. It’s like the decisions are premeditated. Amachita kukhala ngati anachalira zochitika zawo,” another ardent Queens fan, Jacqueline Kaoza, posted.
The former Escom Sisters player’s bad relation with the previous NAM executive, is well documented.
In 2014, the then executive took Mwawi to task for her decision to withdraw from the Queens squad.
The player had excused herself from the squad, saying she was scheduled to undergo an operation only for NAM to discover she had already done so.
This did not go down well with NAM as they felt the player was boycotting national team duty.
NAM wrote a scathing letter to the player accusing her of being unpatriotic.
She was summoned to a disciplinary hearing, but Mwawi never showed up.
The shooter was included in the squad which went into camp to start preparing for the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia, she refused to report for duty unless Nam retracted the warning letter they issued to her.
She only returned to national duty after Malawi National Council of Sports intervened.
Analyst Higger Mkandawire wondered whether it is the player to blame or the NAM officials.
“At first, it was with the Rose Chinunda administration now is Khungikile Matiya administration. Are all these seasoned administrators bad?”