The Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda says the Queens will dust themselves off and move on without star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda whose absence many, including Sports Minister Grace Chiumia, felt was missed during last week’s test series in England.
“People should not only look at one side. The team cannot keep on winning all games. We went to England to train and not to win. We are trying to develop a new team as some of the senior players were absent. With the level Mwawi is at, I do not think she will be willing to play for the team, so we have to develop other players,” said Chinunda on day.
The NAM president was overly impressed with the showing that saw the Queens beat England reserve team 55-51 in a training match while losing two competitive test matches to the hosts. The Queens travelled without stay-away Kumwenda, whereas Beatrice Mpinganjira and Tina Kamzati excused themselves. Malawi has, in Kumwenda’s absence, lost eight straight competitive games.
“The team’s shooting has improved; we can rate it at 95 percent, but the attack and defence needs improving. Shooters need good service from wingers. Takondwa Lwazi played well, but we still need improvement,” said Chinunda while praising shooters and goal attackers Lorraine Ngwira, Jane Chimaliro and Sindi Simtowe as well as newcomers Martha Dambo and Beauty Nyangulu.
Chinunda blamed irregular matches, lack of standard facilities and equipment as the stumbling blocks to the team that is ranked number one in Africa and fifth in the world. Breaking into the top four has been a challenge for the Queens in the last five years.
Critics fault NAM’s administration for lack of planning, ignoring players’ bonus grievances and also autocratic leadership style bent on silencing and pushing out those holding dissenting views. But the NAM boss insisted that the biggest problem is “people’s attitude.”
“As for Mwawi, she cannot go on air and accuse us of poor administration that we do not have an office etc. She knows what she is doing. We can proceed without her as commitment starts from the heart. Is it not the same administration and the same Rosy who helped her to be where she is? Sometimes people get drunk with money. You don’t insult your parents and the public that made you,” said Chinunda.
Last week, Chiumia disclosed that she had heard out Kumwenda and government will also meet NAM. Chinunda said they will hear “what government will say, but we can’t force her [Kumwenda].”
Earlier, the New Zealands’ Tactix’s shooter Kumwenda told The Nation that she was fighting for her team mates.
“I love my country and it always feels great to serve it through the Queens, but it pains me so much that my colleagues are suffering in silence,” she said.
When contacted, several netball club officials refused to comment on Kumwenda’s saga and the Queens fearing NAM’s wrath.