BY Josh Odoi, 12:02pm July 25, 2014,

Glasgow 2014: Mary Waya, African Netball Queen

Mary Waya of Malawi looks to pass the ball during the Group A Netball match betwen Australia and Malawi at Thyagaraj Sports Complex during day five of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 8, 2010 in Delhi, India.

Although Mary Waya is not actively playing for the Malawi Queens at this year’s malawi netball mary waya Commonwealth Games, the netball legend is expected to inspire Africa’s top netball team to win a medal in Glasgow.

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Waya, the former netball shooter, is currently coaching the Malawi Queens who are ranked fifth in the world.

The 46-year-old trained electrical engineer has a laudable 25-year playing career for the African team under her belt. This will be her fourth Commonwealth Games having competed in three as player.

Self-taught Waya, rejected her love for football to focus on netball instead at an early age. On how she developed her game, she is quoted by BBC Sports as saying  “Most of the coaches around the world, they are former players who go and build up the children to be sports people. But in Malawi, we have to do it on our own.”

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She was fortunate to be called up for Malawi’s first major international tournament outside Africa: the World Netball Championship in the British city of Birmingham in 1995.

She recalls, “I was able to take on new ideas and new techniques and train myself. When I went to a tournament, I was able to look at what the other players were doing and when I got back home I’d train myself and my friends.”

It was at this international tournament that she remembers being cast as fat in comparison to the other teams who seemed more physically fit.

Their supposed lack of a “sporty physique” did not deter the Malawians: They fought on to second place in their group only behind top-ranked Jamaica.

On her return to Africa, Waya helped develop the game in her home country to see the Malawians become the best team on the African continent.

She retired from playing in 2010, and yet kept developing her coaching skills to become the first fully trained netball tutor on the continent.

Waya has established her own netball academy and has won a range of coaching awards as a result.

Her motivational reach has seen her publish her autobiography, “Mary Way — Netball Queen,” which has circulated in her region to inspire a new generation of young African girls to reach their full potential.

With Malawi, Africa’s pride, winning their first game against Northern Ireland 71-50 on Thursday, Waya’s dream of helping Africa win a medal at 2014 games is on course.

Their next game is Friday, 25th July, against New Zealand.

Follow Waya’s team on Twitter through hashtag search #TeamMalawi and #2014Netball.

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Face2face Africa invites you to join us for our annual Pan-African Weekend July 25-27 in NYC, honoring Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti, Masai Ujiri, Bethlehem Alemu, and Dr. Oheneba Bochie-Adjei. Click here for more details and register to attend.


Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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