Malawi National Netball Team will have to make their Fast5 Netball World Series campaign in Australia without celebrated and influential Coach, Griffin Saenda Snr, who is recuperating from an illness.
In a statement released Thursday, Netball Association of Malawi (Nam), through General Secretary, Carol Bapu, named Blue Eagles Sisters Coach, Samuel Kanyenda, as Saenda’s replacement, with legendary Mary Waya recalled as Assistant Coach.
Ahead of the two-day competition scheduled to throw off on October 28 at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Kanyenda said he was determined to build on the Queens’ performance of last year when they finished third.
“There is a bit of pressure yes, but not much. I have been in and out of the team since 2009, so I am very familiar with this job. It will be more about continuing from where he [Saenda] left. I have worked with him since 1985,” Kanyenda said Thursday.
The coach also shared his thinking behind the 20 players selected for camp training scheduled to start this Sunday in Blantyre.
“Consistency in performance was a factor in the selection. Fast5 involves fewer players than the normal games. Last year, we lost by a one-goal margin to Australia in our opening game at the same tournament. They caught us by surprise.
“I am sure that if we had a balanced squad, we could have won that game. I know that this year, teams will come hard on us because we surprised most of them with our performance,” Kanyenda said.
As hinted by Kanyenda, the squad comprises new faces such as Mafco Soldiers’ Fanny Mwale (defender) and Loveness Sambo, who have been called up following their outstanding performances in the just-ended GOtv Netball Champions League.
The league was also played on Fast5 format.
The Queens’ skipper Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira has been recalled, having missed last year’s series in Australia.
Australia and England-based shooters—Mwawi Kumwenda of Melbourne Vixens and Manchester Thunder’s Joyce Mvula—have also made the squad.
Bapu said they were assured that the government would release K31 million required for the trip.
“The government has been our backbone and we have never been disappointed. The camping has come at the right time when teams were active and have just concluded the GOtv Netball Champions League, which was full of life,” she said.
Defenders: Mtukule-Ngwira, Wezzie Mzemba-Msisya (Kukoma Diamonds), Joanna Kachilika, Martha Dambo (Thunder Queens), Juliet Sambo (Blue Eagles), Mwale (Mafco Soldiers) and Loreen Ngwira (Tigresses).
Centre-court: Rose Mkanda (Civonets), Shira Kapasula Dimba, Bridget Kumwenda (Kukoma Diamonds), Beatrice Mpinganjira (Tigresses), Thandie Galeta (Thunder), Takondwa Lwazi (Blue Eagles),
Shooters: Kumwenda (Melbourne Vixens-Australia), Mvula (Manchester Thunder), Jane Chimaliro (Civonets), Alinafe Kamwala, Grace Chazungulira (Kukoma Diamonds) and Sambo (Mafco Soldiers).
Head Coach : Kanyenda; Assistant Coach: Waya; Physical Fitness Trainer: Griffin Saenda Jnr; Team Manager: Agness Chaima.
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