Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda-M’bwana says she has excused herself from the Malawi Queens squad preparing for two international tourneys to give up-and-coming players a chance to gain exposure.
Mwawi and stand-in coach Sam Kanyenda confirmed the development on Tuesday after her name was among five key players missing on the list of players who have started preparations for the Fast5 Netball World Series scheduled for November 11 to 12 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Mwawi: I want to give blossoming players a chance
Other notable names missing from the list are United Kingdom (UK)-based defender and captain Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, shooter Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya, goal attacker Jane Chimaliro and centre Takondwa Lwazi-Chiwaya.
In an interview, Mwawi said the the Fast5 competition has no impact on world netball rankings; hence, she thought it wise to give room to blossoming players.
She said: “I feel this is a good platform for our up-and-coming talents to gain exposure and confidence as we build a formidable national team for the future. Sizabwino kuti tizingophangira zilizonse.”
“Other countries such as South Africa and Jamaica did that at the previous event and I felt it is proper to excuse myself for the sake of promising talent.
“I know many people, especially on social media, will say I am not being patriotic by opting out of the squad, but I believe my decision is the bitter-pill we need to swallow to have a good national team for the future after our time is over.”
However, Mwawi assured that she will be available for selection in world ranking competitions such as the Commonwealth Games.
“At present, I would like to give myself time for netball clinics that I will roll out in various districts to nurture talents,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kanyenda, who is also Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) technical director, has said Mtukule-Ngwira, who plays for English side Team Bath, has been left out due to logistical issues while Chimaliro and Lwazi-Chiwaya recently retired from the Queens.
“I am confident that the players that have been selected will fight for their places in the final squad,” he said.
According to yesterday’s NAM press release, the Fast5 squad includes three new faces, namely Cynthia Khunga, Amina Msusa and Mary Nyirenda.
Others are UK-based duo of Joyce Mvula-Nyirenda and defender Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Thandie Galeta, Shira Dimba, Loreen Ngwira, Martha Dambo and Shabel Bengo.
“NAM’s technical team has released a list of the following players to immediately join camp at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe to prepare for the games,” the statement, signed by NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala, reads in part.
The Fast5 Series, which features modified netball rules, is competed for by the top-six ranked teams in the world.
Malawi, ranked sixth in the world, will compete against top-ranked Australia, second-ranked New Zealand, third-ranked England, fourth-ranked Jamaica and fifth-ranked South Africa.