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Mwawi snubs Malawi Queens call for England test series; seek redress

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s sole netball export Mwawi Kumwenda on Thursday snubbed the Queens’ camping call up ahead of England international series this month demanding the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) to create a conducive environment for her effective participation.

Mwawi’s cousin Hlupikire Chalamba, who acts as her manager and legal adviser, disclosed this through a letter sent to NAM.

According to Chalamba, the netball star is always excited and committed to represent Malawi and play with the Queens but wants netball body to clear circumstances that led to her expelled from the Queens camp ahead of the Fast5 World Netball series for late arrival in camp.

Chalamba said unless NAM address the concerns that led to her dropped, Mwawi will not return to the Queens.

“I have advised her to wait until we have a better understanding of what transpired during the last call up which led to her expulsion from camp,” reads the letter.

Chalamba said the gangly goal shooter (GS) expulsion was dubious as she provided reasons before for reporting late to the camp.

Mwawi’s legal advisor said if NAM found her reasons to be unacceptable, then they would have accorded her a chance to be properly, fairly and impartially heard before enforcing a decision to expel her.

“The fact that the coach himself [Samuel Kanyenda] was even surprised and against Mwawi’s expulsion raises even more deep concerns, because the coach himself (being part of the technical committee) should ordinarily have been the one to exercise such disciplinary oversight of his players,” Chalamba said, who has communicated the message to NAM in a letter.

“It therefore becomes worrying as to whether there may be other factors that resulted in such an arbitrary decision from NAM. In addition, the manner in which the decision was undertaken only served to further ridicule and stigmatize Mwawi.

“Specifically, NAM opted to publicly denounce Mwawi in front of her teammates and demanded her removal from camp. This is in spite of the fact that Mwawi had been earlier welcomed by the coach and had already commenced training with her teammates,” reads Chalamba’s letter which its authenticity has been verified with her.

She added, “Throughout these twist of events, Mwawi and myself have nonetheless respected your decision, and we remained optimistic that we would have a two-way discussion surrounding this issue.

“To date, we have received nothing except your current call for camp reporting on Sunday, 12th November, 2017 and processing of UK Visa on Friday, 10th November, 2017. It is not currently clear whether the expulsion from the camp constituted a disciplinary action or Mwawi is yet to undergo formal disciplinary action”.

Chalamba further observed that the kind of working relationship with NAM is not healthy for Mwawi and even her teammates.

“I am increasingly becoming uncomfortable with this continued tensions, especially considering that this is not the first time that we have had such concerning actions from your side. This is not the kind of environment that Mwawi or any other team member can thrive.”

“For Mwawi and her team members to effectively perform, they need to play in a safe and comfortable environment- without fear of arbitrary decision makings. I therefore request that we first have an honest and reflective discussion to iron out these issues. We need to understand from you what happened, (including the manner in which you undertook your decisions) and how we can move forward amicably for the betterment of national interests that are at stake,” she said.

Chalamba therefore needs a firm assurance that the best interests of Mwawi and the Queens are well safeguarded by NAM before she returns to the national team’s fold.

However, NAM general secretary Carol Bapu yesterday expressed surprise at the manager’s stance.

Malawi team is scheduled to go into camp in Blantyre on November 12 ahead of the test series that will take place between November 24 and 29 in England.

The full squad is as follows: Defenders: Joanna Kachilika (C), Caroline Ngwira, Laureen Ngwira, Martha Dambo, Wezzie Mzemba, Fanny Mwale, Juliet Sambo; Attackers: Takondwa Lwazi, Thandie Galeta, Shira Dimba, Pilirani Msukwa, Rose Mkanda; Shooters: Jane Chimaliro (VC), Joyce Mvula, Jessie Sanudi, Alinafe Kamwala and Grace Chazungulira.

Mwawi’s absence was heavily felt as evidenced by the team’s poor results at last month’s Fast5 tournament in Australia.

Lloyd M’bwana
Lloyd M’bwana
I'm a Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANAR)'s Environmental Science graduate (Malawi) and UK's ICM Journalism and Media studies scholar. Also University of Malawi (UNIMA) Library Science Scholar. I have been The Malawi Country Manager and duty editor for the Maravi Post since 2019. My duty editor’s job is to ensure that the news is covered properly, that it is delivered on time, and that it is created to the standards set out in the editorial guidelines of the Maravi Post.
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