The Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) Executive Committee has trashed calls to step down in the wake of the national team’s awful showing at the just ended Fast5 World Series in Melbourne, Australia.
The Queens lost all their six matches to finish bottom of the six nation tournament, which infuriated some netball fans and commentators, who believe the lacklustre display was solely down to NAM’s decision to drop poster girl Mwawi Kumwenda from the squad, for reporting late to camp.
The disappointment has reached another level with calls for the NAM Executive Committee to resign, for bringing shame and disgrace to the mighty netball nation.
Veteran sports commentator Charles Nyirenda said: “NAM has held the netball fraternity to ransom for its arrogant decision. The Sports Minister (Francis Kasaila) offered them advice to reconsider their stance, but they never listened. Now they have embarrassed the nation and they have to pay for their sins by stepping down,” said Nyirenda.
Another commentator who weighed in on the saga is Humphrey Mvula who faulted the association for priotising personal issues over national interest.
“Am told it’s not the entire committee but some few individuals who have personal scores to settle against the player. But when that compromises matters of national pride like what we have now, those involved should go,” added Mvula.
But speaking at the Kamuzu International Airport, on arrival from the competition, NAM President Khungekile Matiya said resignation is not a solution.
“Is this the first ever defeat for Queens, if not were those previous administrators forced to resign as well? Let’s sit down to do a postmortem of the tournament, identify our weak areas and chart the way forward,” said Matiya.
The NAM President also denied holding grudges against Kumwenda.
“Mwawi is our daughter, she is a queen. We hold nothing against her, the door will always remain open for her to return and represent the nation. After all every athlete must feel proud and honoured to represent his/her country,” she said.
Matiya however declined to disclose who exactly made the big call on the Melbourne Vixens shooter, saying no individual calls the shots at NAM but the entire Executive Committee.
In a separate interview with Malawi24, Queens coach Mary Waya insisted the team did not miss the services of the decorated shooter.
” Mwawi is as good as the players we had at the tournament. She was there last year, just like most of them, so experience and everything is the same. The girls didn’t miss her, they played well, according to instructions but the best team at the tournament won it,” said Waya who took over the mantle following the resignation of Samuel Kanyenda over the same storm.
Waya is the only coach in the history of the team to have overseen two winless trips to the tournament.