Despite her local club Tigresses not being officially aware of her deal with English top-flight netball league side London Pulse, Malawi Queens’ lofty goalkeeper Laureen Ngwira had a perfect start with her new club on Saturday.
She played a full game and was instrumental in assisting the newly-formed team beat experienced side Severn Stars 51-49 and earn their first win in the Vitality Netball Super League.
Ngwira was praised on London Pulse Netball Twitter account for her excellent defensive techniques that helped the debutants overcome the Stars, who failed to make good use of home court advantage.
“Great rebound Loreen [Laureen]! Defence strong, bringing it through court,” reads one of the feeds.
Other feeds screamed: “Great chase from Loreen…great interception by Loreen.”
Pulse led 15-13 and 26-22 in the first two quarters before Stars turned the tables with a 38-35 lead in the third segment. However, they fought back to reclaim the lead and take the glory.
On Vitality Netball Super League website, Pulse’s goal-attack Chiara Semple attributed the victory to the team’s solid defence, which included Ngwira, as she said: “It was only in the last two minutes that we really dug in. Even though it was our shooters who got it in at the end, it was our defence that got it back for us.”
Tigresses’ team manager Hellene Mpinganjira yesterday said she needed more time before she could comment on the matter.
However, Tigresses coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa recently told The Nation that the team is not officially aware of Ngwira’s deal with the English outfit “but if everything is handled properly according to the rules of the game, we will have no problem and we wish her well.”
This is the second time Ngwira’s deal with a foreign club is marred by controversy. In 2017 similar storm surrounded the lanky netball player’s deal with the now-defunct English side Team Northumbria after joining the club without the blessings of her parent team.
And upon her return home in 2018, she was not welcomed to feature for Tigresses in domestic competitions as there was no documented evidence on which team she belonged to until Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) clarified to Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL) that she was still contracted to Tigresses.
During his spell with Northumbria, Ngwira managed to win a number of player-of-the-match accolades before being nominated for the player-of-the-season award in the English top netball league.