The Malawi Queens’ technical panel has named a 12-player squad for the 2018 African Netball Championship in Zambia with shooter Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya and defender Caroline Mtukule Ngwira conspicuously missing.
Queens coach Griffin Saenda Snr yesterday said he dropped Simtowe-Msowoya due to stiff competition in the shooting position, which has been awarded to United Kingdom-based Joyce Mvula, Alinafe Kamwana, Jane Chimaliro and Jessica Mazengera.
Mtukule-Ngwira on the other hand, excused herself on personal grounds, according to the veteran coach.
Saenda has since opted for Joanna Kachilika, Towera Vikhumbo, Juliet Sambo, Martha Dambo and UK-based Laureen Ngwira on the defensive roles while Thandie Galeta-Saenda, Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera and Takondwa Lwazi have been assigned the attacking responsibility.
Yesterday, Simtowe-Msowoya refused to comment on the matter while Mtukule Ngwira said she could not continue with the Queens’ training because there was no one to take care of her baby.
The two were also not in last year’s squad for the African Netball Championship in Uganda on maternity grounds.
“I have a baby girl and there was no one to take care of her if I had travelled to Zambia with the Queens. My nanny has been sick for some time and she could not be with the child. I only wish the Queens all the best,” Mtukule-Ngwira said.
Saenda yesterday said he is confident that the players he has picked will deliver at the continental contest, where the Queens risk being displaced from the sixth position on Ifna world ranking by fast-improving Uganda She Cranes who are also the defending champions.
Last year, the She Cranes moved six places up the world rankings’ table to seventh, after beating Malawi and winning the African Championship for the first time.
The Queens also suffered another defeat to the African champions in the preliminary round of the Commonwealth Games.
But Saenda was confident that there will not be a repeat of last year’s disaster.
“We have selected the best team that will withstand the pressure at the continental showpiece. Nkhondo tikamenya,” he yesterday.
The team is expected to leave for Zambia tomorrow ahead of the continental showpiece that throws off on August 13.