Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) says it will summon Blue Eagles Sisters Netball Club to a disciplinary hearing for disrupting the finals for Airtel Money Netball Tournament at Don Bosco Technical College with a protest that Kukoma Diamonds featured a pregnant player during their semi-final victory over the police outfit and the preceding games.
There was a stand-off during the finals on Saturday, May 21, 2016 as Blue Eagles Sisters refused to step onto the turf for a third-place play-off against Civo Nets until Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) made a determination on their official protest that Diamonds featured their captain Carol Ntukule Ngwira, who, according to the Eagles was pregnant.
The stand-off caused a 45-minute delay of the third-place play-off, which only took place after heated arguments between Eagles Sisters and Nam officials.
Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times after the tournament, Nam president Rose Chinunda condemned Eagles for bringing the issue at the eleventh hour.
“We threw out the protest because it came at the eleventh hour. We tell the teams to raise such complaints before the start of a tournament. If there is any truth in the allegation, the pregnant did not come yesterday. Previously, we were conducting tests before a tournament but we stopped because it was too expensive,” said Chinunda.
The Nam president said her body would summon Eagles Sisters to a disciplinary hearing for bringing the finals into disrepute: “They are a police team and were supposed to show exemplary behaviour. We will ask them to show us the evidence that the player is pregnant.”
But Eagles’ assistant coach Madano Tepetheya accused Nam of failing to act on the team’s complaint.
“How could we protest before the player was featured? We wrote them an official letter and were expecting them to act on our complaint and not issue threats. The rules clearly stipulate that any team that features a pregnant player has to be disqualified or fined K600,000 and we expect Nam to act on our complaint,” said Tepetheya.
There was no immediate comment from Diamonds on the allegation but Ngwira was captured mocking the opposition after lifting the trophy when she inserted the trophy inside her jersey to look like a pregnant woman as her colleagues sang: Iwe Carlo Undiberekere Mwana, Iwe Carlo Undibereke Mwana.