By Charles Leyman Kachitsa
Friday this week the 16th March 2018 will go in history of Malawi as the day when two Malawians faced each other in a netball match outside the country. It will be remembered perhaps as the day when we could reckon that perhaps professional netball is one of the best things to have come out of Malawi. When the two Joyce Mvula’s and Mary Waya’s journey in the United Kingdom (UK) Vitality Netball Super League started, this day was anticipated. Joyce has been in her team, Manchester Thunder now for over a year this being her second while Mary Waya’s started at Benecos Mavericks last July 2017.
Manchester Thunder will host the Benecos Mavericks at home in Manchester, Thunder Dome to try and continue their unbeaten record in the league. This is the last game since after this the UK netball league goes on a break to allow players join their national teams for the 4th to 15th April 2018 Commonwealth games in Gold Coast, Australia.
If both were players it would have been a great contest but in this case Mary Waya is coming as assistant coach for her team while Joyce ifs the main shooter for Manchester Thunder. It will be therefore an understatement to say the two are contesting against each other although it can be argued that since they know each other well, each will try to use that advantage to help their team win. Joyce has proved herself a treasured item as evidenced by her recent accolade as SkyTV Player of the Match gotten when she led her team to a famous win against a difficult opponent the Loughborough Lightning. Ironically Mary Waya has been a mentor and coach to Joyce for most of her playing career mostly at national level.
The game on Friday therefore will be an interesting one as the first where two Malawians proudly will be in two different teams playing against each other on a professional level. Will Mary Waya tell her teams defenders what to anticipate from Joyce? And will Joyce be able to utilise how she feels the other teams players have been drilled to take advantage of that? Time will tell, lets wait for Friday.
Meanwhile, another Malawi netball export Lauren Ngwira arrived in the UK this week on Tuesday to take up her position in Team Northumbria as a defender. Again it will be exciting matches in due course to watch her playing the two teams above of Joyce Mvula and Mary Waya, her compatriots. All this shows that netball in Malawi is the game that should be given more attention and support as it is putting the country on the world map as well as creating paid professionals amongst the nations finest players.