Memories are still fresh of Emma Mzagada’s last-minute penalty shot against South Africa 19 years ago which was enough to qualify Malawi Queens for the 2000 Commonwealth Games.
For 14 years, between 1995 and 2009, the former netball player diligently served the Malawi Queens as a top-notch shooter who won numerous individual awards, including the ‘Netball Player of the Year’ accolade on the MBC Entertainers of the Year Programme.
It is for such an inspiring background, therefore, that the country’s netball fraternity has been immersed in deep shock following news that the netball legend died yesterday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) in Blantyre after a long illness.
Mzagada had been bedridden at her house in Chilomoni Township for close to two years with a deep wound in her right-leg, which made her immobile, being her main problem and the deterioration of her ill-health a few weeks ago prompted the social media to be awash with reports that she had passed on only for her family to refute the allegations.
But yesterday, her elder sister Jessica said the multi-award winning former MTL (now Thunder Queens) shooter was no more after being admitted to Qech for almost a week.
“My sister is gone!” she cried when The Nation called her yesterday.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya yesterday described Mzagada’s death as a big blow to the country’s netball family.
“We are saddened by the demise of Mzagada. She served her country well. We pray that the Lord should comfort and strengthen the family during this very difficult time,” she said.
Malawi Queens’ coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda, who once coached Mzagada, described the fallen legend as one of the top players that played a big role in the national netball team’s success stories over the years.
Another Queens legend Ruth Kaipa-Chimombo, who played alongside Mzagada, said: “It is a big loss not only to netball, but sports in general. Emma served her country with passion and dedication and achieved a lot in her career. It’s sad.”
By close of business yesterday, the funeral arrangements for Mzagada was yet to be known.