Malawi National Council of Sports has summoned Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) and embattled Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa to a meeting to understand their differences that has seen the coach out of the team.
Sports Council spokesperson Edgar Ntulumbwa confirmed they have called for the round-table discussion tomorrow because they believe the current situation will affect the Queens’ preparations ahead of the Netball World Cup in South Africa next month.
He said: “We have been hearing about these issues through the media and we would like to understand what has gone wrong. We would like to know why this fight is coming at a time we are about to compete at the World Cup.
“If we let these squabbles to continue, our team will not perform well at the global stage.”
Chawinga-Kaluwa’s lawyer David Kanyenda yesterday described the council’s summons as a welcome development while NAM general secretary Isaac Chimwala claimed they were yet to get the official invitation from Sports Council.
Kanyenda said they were about to take NAM to court over Chawinga-Kaluwa’s contractual issue, but they believe the meeting will help to sort out the matter.
“We are happy that the council has intervened on the issue and we are hopeful that this meeting will help to put things in order,” he said.
While NAM on Tuesday said they have fired Chawinga-Kaluwa as the national netball team mentor and that they will advertise the post, the Queens’ legend claims she has a running contract with the association after she signed a two-year deal that expires in 2025.
Meanwhile, NAM through technical director (TD) Sam Kanyenda, has released the Queens’ squad to start camping this Sunday in Lilongwe.
Chimwala said he could not comment on the issue until the association received the official communication.
When asked if the just-released Queens’ squad will be dismantled if the meeting resolves to let Chawinga-Kaluwa continue as coach and make her own player selection, he said: “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there.”
In a press statement on Wednesday, he said TD Kanyenda has named 21 players to prepare for the World Cup scheduled between July 28 and August 6.
The squad has shooters Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya, Jane Chimaliro, Salome Nkhoma, Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi, Cynthia Khunga, Brenda Kapira, Nancy Njawala alongside Australia-based Mwawi Kumwenda-Mbwana and New Zealand-based Joyce Mvula-Nyirenda.
Mid-court players are Takondwa Lwazi, Mirriam Mshani, Molly Chisambiro, Thandi Galeta, Lusako Mhango, Mervis Msungama and Florence Gamuka while defenders are Laureen Ngwira, Grace Mwafulirwa, Martha Dambo, Mary Msumba, Madalitso Mkandawire, Shabel Bengo, Mphatso Kanyimbo and United Kingdom-based Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda.
At the World Cup, the Queens are expected to up their game after recently being defeated by low-ranked Tonga and Zambia during the PacificAus Netball Series in Australia last month.
They are also expected to play the reigning world champions New Zealand and Zimbabwe in strength-testing matches.
For the last decade, the Queens have been struggling with low-ranked teams. In 2012, South Africa’s Spar Proteas displaced the Queens from the fifth place on World Netball rankings and for the past three years, they have been having tough time against Uganda’s She Cranes, who recently pushed Malawi from their current sixth-ranking.
Queens are in Group B alongside third-ranked England, 10th-placed Scotland and 14th-ranked Barbados.
Group A has Australia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga while hosts South Africa will take on Jamaica, Wales and Sri Lanka in Group C. Reigning champions New Zealand are in Group D alongside Uganda, Singapore and Trinidad & Tobago.