Australia-based Malawi Queens shooter Mwawi Kumwenda is not part of the squad for the Netball World Cup qualifiers in South Africa after she excused herself due to her upcoming wedding commitments.
Mwawi’s manager and cousin Hlupikile Chalamba and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Isaac Chimwala confirmed the development yesterday.
The 12-player national netball team left yesterday for the tournament, where they are expected to compete for a slot in the global competition for the first time following their recent drop on world rankings from sixth to seventh.
Kumwenda, who plays for Australia giants Melbourne Vixens, is getting married on September 24.
Chalamba said: “Mwawi is finalising preparations for her bridal shower and wedding, which will take place on September 24.
“You will understand that she has been away [in Australia] for the whole year and she recently arrived in Malawi.
“She needs to be on the ground to attend to numerous tasks in preparation for the shower and wedding.”
Chalamba said Mwawi wishes the Queens all the best and she is confident that the team will win the qualifiers and earn one of Africa’s two remaining slots.
On his part, Chimwala said NAM accepted Mwawi’s request and they wish her the best as she prepare to start married life.
He said: “We will greatly miss her services at the qualifiers but we also understand her situation. We wish her all the best as she prepares for her wedding.”
The development means the Queens will bank their qualification hopes on shooters Joyce Mvula and Tendai Masamba on the scoring end.
Other players in the final squad are goal-attackers Jane Chimaliro and Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya while Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga and Bridget Kumwenda are centres as well as wing-attacker Thandi Galeta and defenders, namely captain Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Laureen Ngwira and Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango.
Mwawi recently ended her four-year absence in the senior national netball team after she joined squad that competed at the just-concluded 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Prior to that, the country’s first netball export last featured in Queens’ matches at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
She missed a number of Queens’ engagements, including the Netball World Cup as she spent the entire 2019 season on the sidelines, nursing a knee injury she suffered while playing in Vixens’ league match in the Suncorp Super Netball League.
Upon recovery, she made a triumphant return to the court the following season to inspire her club to the league title and earn the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
However, her club and other personal commitments kept her away from fulfilling national team duties.