The Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has engaged star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda’s family with the hope of ending the impasse between the player and the netball governing body.
Malawi Queens regrouped for Netball World Cup 2015 preparations in Blantyre yesterday with a near-full house save for Cecilia Mtukule and the New Zealand-based star, but coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua said she is hoping that the two, especially the gangly shooter, will join the squad.
“As a coach, I need Mwawi at all cost. The team needs her services and the nation needs her.
“I am yet to be updated by the authorities, but I am hoping she will join us as soon as possible,” said Chawinga-Kalua.
However, Mwawi’s cousin Hlupikire Chalamba, who acts as her manager, on Monday came up with a fresh twist to the saga when she disclosed that NAM has since engaged the family in the quest to sort out the issue once and for all.
“NAM has engaged us to discuss the issue, but it’s too early to commit anything at the moment. It is a good development though because Mwawi has always been committed towards national duty,” said Chalamba.
But NAM general secretary Carol Bapu could neither confirm nor deny the development, saying she could not comment.
The Queens regrouped after a nod from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports over K100 million ($222 222) funding for the preparations and actual trip to the world tournament to run from August 6 to 17 in Sydney. Malawi leaves on July 29 for the cup in Australia.
NAM president Rosy Chinunda confirmed that Africa’s number one team had started the training under the tutorship of coach Chawinga-Kalua and her deputy Mary Waya at Blantyre Youth Centre.
“We will not have an opportunity for test matches, but we are relieved that, at least, the team will surely go to the World Cup,” she said.
Malawi National Council of Sports executive secretary George Jana confirmed that funding was available, but fell short of being specific with the amount, saying they paid as per bills on accommodation and other expenses.
The Queens should have started training last week, but Jana said “they felt the period of the training was unnecessarily too long for a national team because they wanted to camp for 20 something days.”