The Southern Region Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) Netball Championships semi-final clash between Blantyre All Stars and Chilomoni Sisters at Blantyre Youth Centre ended in controversy on Sunday.
Although All Stars were declared 12-11 winners, the match was marred by violence and foul language as Chilomoni Sisters protested their opponents’ featuring of senior netball officials such as Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) vice president Chimwemwe Kachingwe and Malawi Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa.
According to Chilomoni Sisters team manager Grace Fatch, they felt the fairness of the umpires could be questionable with the presence of senior netball officials in the All Stars side.
“We felt it was very awkward and unacceptable for a team to feature such very senior officials because the umpires could be biased. We were vindicated when we saw two of our players being sent out for no apparent reason and the game stopped before time,” Fatch said.
But umpire of the match, Rebecca Dulanya, denied the claims saying they only followed the rules of the game by suspending the players and disqualifying the side.
She also said no one is restricted from participating in the Presidential Netball contest.
“Moreover, rule 21 of netball umpiring stipulates that when teams get out of court without umpire’s consent and do not return after 10 seconds, they are automatically disqualified,” she said.
Chilomoni Sisters left the court in protest and did not return after 30 seconds.
All Stars were declared winners and lost 4-19 to defending regional champions Alliance Capital Stars in the final.
Alliance Capital received a trophy and K300 000; K200 000 as prize money and K100 000 as a bonus from guest of honour Shalice Amos who is managing director of Terrace the Wonderful Drug.
Amos also gave the runners-up All Stars K50 000 on top of their K150 000 prize. n