Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) is pushing for the registration of goal-attacker Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya to replace blossoming goal-shooter Tendai Masamba in the squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games so that she is not reduced to a sight-seer.
Despite making the trip to Birmingham, England for the Games which start this Thursday as a late inclusion, Simtowe-Msowoya is not eligible for the games as each team was required to submit a list of 12 players.
In an interview yesterday, NAM vice-president Chimwemwe Bakali said as of now, the FirstChoice Tigresses player remains on the reserve list.
He said: “Efforts are being made to replace Masamba with Sindi, but we have not heard anything yet from our colleagues in England, so the assumption is that the change has not been effected.
Part of the rules for the Games state that: “ The working committee, in consultation with the relevant International Federation and Commonwealth Games Medical Commission may approve a permanent replacement of an athlete by another eligible athlete when deemed appropriate, only in the same sport and discipline and event[s] where there are extenuating/extraordinary circumstances [e.g., medical circumstances, anti-doping rule violations and appeals] that may prevent the participation of an athlete in Birmingham 2022.”
Following the announcement of the final list last week, Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa cried foul, claiming that her final squad list had been tampered with by NAM.
She claimed that her list included Simtowe-Msowoya, but she was surprised that during Team Malawi’s squad unveiling, the player’s name was missing and had been replaced by Masamba.
Following Malawi National Council of Sports’ intervention, it was resolved that Simtowe-Msowoya should be included.
However, the inclusion of Simtowe-Msowoya provoked a protest from some quarters, notably the Central Region Netball Committee chairperson Cecilia Mtukule who demanded that the other two players that were on the reserve list should also travel.
She said: “My point was that if a reserve player was included on the list, then other two players [Maggie Sikwese and Madalitso Mkandawire] that were on the reserve list, should have also made the trip. Otherwise, it is unfair and demotivating to the other players.”