In many ways, Mwai Kumwenda is a trailblazer in Malawi.
As Malawi’s sharp-shooting star player, she made history last month by becoming the first Queens’ International to earn a contract in the Trans-Tasman ANZ Championship with the Canterbury Tactix.
At WIN Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night, the dynamic attacker is set to give the Diamonds a taste of her own shot-making exhibition.
It’s a far cry from the outdoor courts of her homeland but the softly spoken shooter wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass by without making an impact.
‘‘The girls are working hard and we believe that we can make it against Australia,’’ Kumwenda said.
‘‘I hope we can play better in the Tests and hope we can do it.
‘‘It will help me a lot to play the Diamonds as most of the defenders play in the ANZ Netball Championship so I will learn about a lot of them.’’
As the Australian Netball League’s Player of the Year, Kumwenda’s rise into the premier club competition in the world came as no surprise and fulfilled a lifelong ambition.
‘‘I am so excited, because that was my dream to play professional netball,’’ Kumwenda said.
‘‘I hope I can help other girls because we have up-and-coming players, so I hope one day they can play here.’’
Kumwenda also hopes to use her new-found profile in the netball community to help educate and encourage children in Malawi to take up the sport.
A lack of resources has made it difficult for Kumwenda to achieve her targets, but she remains determined to spread the word of the sport.
‘‘I want to teach like here in Australia because in Malawi it is not as popular as it is here,’’ Kumwenda said.
‘‘I try my best when I can back home, I like to teach girls from six years old in primary schools and run coaching clinics.
‘‘There is a lack of sponsorship but Netball Victoria helped me so when I go back in November, I will go and teach some of the girls.
‘‘I want to teach young kids that they can grow with netball and school, and they can make life better by doing these sort of things.’’
Queens’ legend and assistant coach Mary Waya sees Kumwenda as a bright spark for the sport’s future in Malawi.
Waya said Kumwenda was a role model for the junior players.
Wednesday, October 16
AUSTRALIA v MALAWI (8pm)
WIN Entertainment Centre
Doors open at 7pm
Tickets: Ticketek.com.au or WIN Stadium booking office
TV: Live on Fox Sports 1, delayed on SBS 2 at 10.30pm
• Australia ranked world No2
• Malawi ranked No5
• First time Malawi have played the Diamonds in Australia.
• Final Tests for Australia before the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
• Malawi defeated Australia twice (33-15 and 33-30) in last year’s Fast5 world series in New Zealand.
• Shooter Mwai Kumwenda is first player from Malawi to sign to play in the trans-Tasman champs, with NZ team the Tactix.
• Rising NSW Swifts star Paige Hadley is expected to make her debut.