Tigresses coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa has queried Blantyre and Districts Netball League’s (BDNL) decision to continue exempting the team from Rainbow Paints league fixtures, saying the development has the potential to negatively affect their prospects of securing sponsorship from Lilongwe Dairy Limited.
The team has so far gone three weeks without a league fixture after their game against defending champions Kukoma Diamonds was abandoned following their insistence to feature goalkeeper Laureen Ngwira, who was recently playing for English top league side Team Northumbria.
Tigresses have also been omitted from this weekend’s fixtures.
“It is very surprising that three weeks have now gone without being given a league fixture and yet all the other teams are playing. To make matters worse, we have not received any formal communication on why we continue being sidelined,” Chawinga-Kalua said.
“We do not know why we are always victimised and we suspect a hidden agenda behind all this. Just imagine investing our resources and time in our training sessions, but not knowing when we will have our next fixture.”
However, BDNL disciplinary committee chairperson Chimwemwe Bakali yesterday said Tigresses are exempted from the fixtures because the club seems not ready to sort out the issue about Ngwira’s eligibility.
“We do not give them the fixtures because they are not willing to sort out the Ngwira issue. The last time we tried to discuss with them, they insisted they could not play without the player. This means, if we give them a fixture there will be a controversy. We do not want another game to be abandoned because of this issue,” he said.
When asked why they do not find out from the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) if the player is eligible to play for Tigresses, Bakali said they did but the local netball governing body is yet to reply.
But Chawinga-Kalua said their stand remains that Ngwira is their player as they did not clear her to play for Northumbria “so whoever feels she is not our player should bring evidence on why we should not use her”. n