Mwawi eyes return to Aussie professional league

Malawi’s only netball export Mwawi Kumwenda is set to return to Australia next week for another eight-month contract renewable for three years. The destination is the same, Peninsula Waves in Melbourne.

The 22-year-old Mwawi had a successful first season at Waves, which prompted coach Robin Pym to seek more of her services.

She was voted Waves best player of the season and was also selected in the Victorian National League (VNL) all-star select team.

Pym says Mwawi was a fitting winner of the Best Team Player Award. “She is the kind of player that you want. Every time she plays, she tries hardest,” Pym said about her.

The former Escom Sisters star has been averaging her shooting percentage at 82 percent, according to Pym.

But this time around Mwawi, wants to achieve more and progress in the top league as the VNL is not a professional league.

In an interview over the week, after completing a successful medical that will clear her to travel and play in Australia, Mwawi said she wants to soar.

“I want to do more so that I can be spotted by professional clubs. The Australian players I play against when I feature for the Queens are all in the professional league. I am aiming at joining those clubs,” she said.

She said with the training and experience she is getting, she believes it won’t be long before she joins an elite club.

“There are some players from the England squad that ply their trade in professional leagues in Australia. It will be great playing against or alongside them at club level,” she said.

This time around, Mwawi returns to Australia to pursue both her netball career and education. She wants to pursue a career in marketing.

“Last year, I applied for a place at a certain college and I am awaiting confirmation and I am confident they will admit me,” she said.

She said most of her teammates at Peninsula Waves are majoring in one field or another.

“Education is important in every aspect of life and sports is no exception. I have chosen marketing because it is a field I have always wanted,” she said.

Mwawi’s manager, Hlupekire Phiri, said she advised her to make her stay in Australia more productive by pursuing education.

“It is not wise to depend on netball alone. She has to advance her education. There is possibility she might land a good job after her netball days,” said Phiri.

On the sideline of Mwawi return to Australia, NAM has said it will soon export another player to Venezuela.

“We are in talks with a club in Venezuela who have expressed interest in one of our goal defenders. We believe everything will be finalised before the end of January. The league there starts in January. We will resume correspondence after the New Year holidays,” said NAM president Rosy Chinunda.

Chinunda, however, could not be drawn to reveal the name of the netballer for fear of igniting unnecessary ‘politics’ prevalent in netball.

“We are not disclosing the name because that would be to the disadvantage of the player. But once everything is competed in terms of travel arrangements, then I will tell you,” she said.

NAM, however, admitted failing to capitalise on Mwawi’s chance for the benefit of other Malawian netballers.

Ballarat Pride, which also plays in VNL, announced at the end of the season that they want to recruit a shooter from overseas.

Ballarat Netball Association president Jo Nash told The Courier that the team needed beefing up.

“Pride will also consider recruiting abroad just like the Frankston-based Peninsula Waves’ Malawian goaler, Mwawi Kumwenda,” announced Nash.

“We can, indeed, use Mwawi’s opportunity. Her outstanding performance means clubs there are aware of the talent in Malawi. The drawback is that as NAM, we do not have a marketing section. If we had a marketing section, we could use these opportunities to work with international scouts. But we have learnt our lessons and will do better in future,” said Chinunda.

She said the only exposure the girls get is during Queens assignments. But she assured that NAM will export to Europe three players within 2012.

Escom Sisters coach Griffin Saenda says it is high time the Queens started travelling with a qualified marketer to exploit the netball market.

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