She is back. Excitement was the prevalent emotion in Queens’ camp yesterday when netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda joined the squad just before midday in Blantyre.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) recalled Mwawi into the Queens’ squad for the upcoming three international test series against England, but her manager Hlupikire Chalamba refused to release her in the wake of the player’s stormy relationship with the association, which led to her expulsion from camp.
But Chalamba, who doubles as the gangly shooter’s legal adviser, said Mwawi has been allowed to join camp following a request from NAM president Khungekile Matiya.
“The president has reached out to me and has accepted my request for a meeting. In the meantime, she has indicated that NAM will ensure a conducive environment for Mwawi and her team-mates.
“Thus and whilst we plan to hold further discussions with NAM to iron out the differences that ensued, NAM has also requested that she be released for camp. And since the concerns we raised were done in good faith, I have released Mwawi to join her team-mates in camp,” reads part of a statement from Chalamba.
She also expressed optimism that the discussions will be fruitful.
On her part, Matiya said the move has been made for the good of the game.
“It is not a matter of battle or war, what we want at the end of the day is that netball should win and put a smile on Malawians.
“We will set a date to discuss their concerns and we will also present ours. Contact and dialogue is important. Let’s rise above petty politics,” she said.
The decision to drop Mwawi from the squad that travelled to Melbourne, Australia, for the Fast5 World Netball series last month, drew mixed reactions with a section of the public commending NAM while others felt the association lost its way.
Just a few days after NAM released the call-up for the England trip, Chalamba stated that Mwawi would not be allowed to join the squad until the two parties hold “an honest and reflective discussion”.
Part of the letter which Chalamba wrote to NAM last week, reads: “Much as Mwawi is always excited and committed to represent Malawi and play with the Queens, as her manager and legal adviser, 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.
“Whilst she really wants to play, I personally have reservations at this moment on the availability of a conducive environment for her effective participation, especially when I consider what transpired during the previous call-up and the fact that the circumstances around her expulsion have not been cleared yet.”