The Southern Region Netball Committee (SRNC) has ordered Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL) to reschedule Tigresses’ Rainbow Paints League game against Kukoma Diamonds and allow their all-rounder Laureen Ngwira to play.
Tigresses can now compete for the league’s runner-up slot and feature their key player, who was entangled in an eligibility controversy upon her return from the now-defunct English top league side Team Northumbria, where she was loaned out without her local team’s consent.
Southern Region Netball Committee (SRNC) made the ruling following Tigresses’ appeal against BDNL’s decision to award points and a 150-0 bonus victory to Diamonds after Tigresses refused to play without Ngwira.
They were also not satisfied with BDNL’s insistence that the lofty player was still not eligible to feature for Tigresses this season despite Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) giving her green-light to play for the outfit. The body argued that Tiga did not register her for this season.
“We have ordered BDNL to reschedule the game within two weeks as we were convinced Tigresses were not at fault,” said SRNC chairperson Judith Chalusa.
In response, BDNL general secretary Annie Hanjahanja-Billie yesterday said the game will be played on a date to be communicated later.
“The Tigresses versus Diamonds game will be played and both parties have already been communicated to,” she said.
Tigresses coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua said they are happy that the appeal case has gone in their favour.
“We thank God that this issue is now laid to rest. Although we already felt the pain of the struggles we went through, we are happy with the good ending. We hope in the future, people will be patriotic enough to do things according to what the law and rules say before anybody is punished,” she said.
After their 128-11 and 46-36 triumphs against Gerald Tasaukadala Sisters and Thunder Queens, respectively, on Saturday, Tigresses moved from fourth position to third place on the 10-team log-table after tying with second-placed Thunder on 28 points, six points behind leaders Diamonds.
But with the latest ruling, Tigresses are second on the ladder on better basket difference and will settle for the runner-up finish if they beat Diamonds in the rescheduled match. Diamonds, who also remain with a fixture against Thunder after beating Chilomoni Sisters 77-23 on Saturday, are automatic champions after amassing insurmountable 32 points with 16-straight wins.
Ngwira also finally returned to action in the domestic league after she was allowed to feature for Tigresses in an encounter against Thunder last weekend.