National netball team captain Joanna Kachilika on Saturday defied the Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) when she failed to apologise for fighting with another player on the court.
On Saturday 6 January, 2018, the national team and Thunder Queens captain was involved in a fight with Tigresses shooter Sindi Simtowe as the two teams tussled in the league at the Blantyre Youth Centre.
The duo were then called to task by the SRNL which found both of them guilty of unsporting behaviour.
Last Saturday the league’s management released its verdict on the matter, banning the duo for five games and fining them K2,500 each.
Further to that, the verdict ordered the two players to publicly apologise to the sports fraternity during the end of season games on Saturday, 20 January.
While Simtowe never showed up, Kachilika was brave enough to turn up at the venue, where she would also lead her team in their season finale against Kukoma Diamonds.
After several officials had taken the stand to address the crowd, Kachilika took her turn but never gave the crowd what it expected.
Instead of making an apology, the Chilomoni based star only encouraged her fellow players to abide by the rules of the game and observe fair play at all the times.
“We know that netball is a physical game full of emotions, but as players we must always play to the rules and promote the spirit of fair play in our game,” said Kachilika, while running away from an outright apology.
In reaction, Blantyre District Netball League Chairperson Junia Kazembe admitted that Kachilika skirted around the actual apology but commended her for her fair play message.
“An apology all depends on how one feels, but we also know it’s not easy to face a big crowd and issue an apology, but all in all we are happy she came and gave out the fair play message,” said Kazembe.
On Simtowe’s no show, Kazembe said she had excused herself due to some personal reasons.
However, a number of journalists who were at the venue, faulted Kachilika for failing to rise above her ego.
“The brawl has dented her image as national captain. So this was a great opportunity to clear her name but she blew it. People here expected an outright apology as mentioned in the verdict, not trying to go around the main issue with a fair play talk, which was not an apology. She should have humbled herself to say sorry, period,” said one journalist who opted for anonymity.
These sentiments were shared by some netball fans while others argued the fair play message was just another way of delivering an apology.