Malawi Queens training in preparation for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games has been delayed after head coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa demanded the availability of all local-based players.
The training was expected to start on Monday at the Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC), but Queens team manager Diana Nkhulambe, who is also Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) vice-general secretary, on Tuesday said it has been shifted to today.
“The coach insisted that the first session will be a physical assessment and it could only be done once all the local-based players are in camp. Therefore, we had to shift the date as some players have not yet arrived in camp,” she said.
On Tuesday, four of the 25 local-based players, were yet to report for camp. They include two from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) teams.
The local squad is expected to be joined by three overseas-based players, namely Mwawi Kumwenda, Joyce Mvula and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda.
Nkhulambe said Civonets player Jane Chimaliro was expected to join the squad on Tuesday while MDF players Thandie Galeta (Lioness) and Brenda Luwanda (Mafco) were waiting to be released by their employers.
She said Tigresses wing defender Grace Mwafulirwa excused herself due to other commitments.
“However, we expect all the local-based players, except Mwafulirwa, to be in camp by the end of onTuesday,” she said.
On her part, Chawinga-Kaluwa on Tuesday could not shed more on her stand to have a physical assessment of all the local-based players, saying she was not comfortable to comment.
Local-based players have hardly been active since their last camping in February and the coach has been assessing them through online sessions courtesy of TNM plc, who have been providing the players and the technical panel with data bundles for the last six months.
However, the coach recently told The Nation that while online sessions were good, physical assessment of players through training camps were the most effective.
She said Kumwenda, Mvula and Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda were better off as they are active in foreign leagues.
Yesterday, Chawinga-Kaluwa said the three internationals are expected to join the squad later due to club commitments.
“We are hopeful that Mvula and Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda might join us and will be considered for the friendlies in South Africa once their league season in the UK concludes in the next few days,” she said.
“Our only doubt for the camping and the friendlies is Mwawi because the league in Australia takes a bit of time to conclude.”
NAM announced the Queens camping on Friday after their official sponsors FDH Bank provided them with financial support of K15 million. The Queens total budget for the two-week camping is K21 million.
They preparing for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 28 to August 8.
So far, they are the only team in the games’s Group B yet to intensify their preparations as Uganda, New Zealand, England, Trinidad & Tobago and Northern Ireland have selected their final 18-player squads.