Waya, one of Malawi’s netball legends
* Waya started playing international netball for Malawi at the tender age of 14
* She has since become the nation’s most high-profile player having played in more than 200 international matches
* She was also part of the 2007 World Netball Championships squad that finished 5th
* This was the Queens’ highest ever international placing
Malawi’s netball legend, Mary Waya has been appointed as World Netball’s official Heart Ambassador, representing the sport’s world governing body’s rebranding value of ‘Heart’.
Formerly named International Netball Federation (INF), the body has officially rebranded to World Netball and the Heart value represents a commitment to fostering friendship and respect through a shared love of netball.
According to World Netball’s website, Waya has been honoured taking cognizance that she started playing international netball for Malawi at the tender age of 14 and has since become the nation’s most high-profile player having played in more than 200 international matches.
World Netball chronicles that the more than 200 international matches that Waya has played include competing in two World Netball Series, three Commonwealth Games and two Netball World Cups,” the website said.
It also included the 2007 World Netball Championships where the Queens finished 5th, their highest ever placing.
World Netball also recognised Waya as being one of pioneer of the Queens’ rise on the international scene and that in addition to being an international netballer, she is also the international coach for the Tanzania national netball team.
Off the court, the website says, Waya has become a role model to millions of women around the world and in Malawi through her ‘Mary Waya Foundation’ — a non-profit sports academy that aims to empower local Africa women through sport.
Through the Foundation, the Malawi legend — nicknamed ‘aChair’ — has created opportunities for young women and girls to develop and form lasting friendships through the sport of netball.
The Foundation supports players by developing them as future netballers by improving their skills and assisting with education.
World Netball quotes its president Liz Nicholl, CBE as saying: “Mary is a role model for millions in Africa through her legacy as an international netballer, coach, and entrepreneur.
“Her vision to inspire and motivate young women and girls to become confident women through her Foundation demonstrates why Mary is the perfect ambassador to represent our ‘Heart’ value.
“By educating others, providing opportunities, and showcasing the power of sport, Mary is using her experience and life lessons to give back to the community.
“Her commitment is incredibly impressive and I look forward to working with Mary to grow, play and inspire others around the world through netball,” Nicholl is quoted as saying.
In her response, Waya is quoted as saying she was “extremely honoured to have been invited to become the World Netball Heart Ambassador”.
“I am passionate about the sport and want to use it to create role models that can go back into their communities and motivate others to be the best version of themselves in their everyday lives.
“World Netball’s strategic plan outlines how the governing body will harness the power of netball to change lives and I look forward to working with them on this.”
According to the website, World Netball has announced five of its of ambassadors who represent the organisation’s newly launched values of Excellence, Teamwork, Heart, Integrity, Courage, Athlete and Leadership.
Together, the Values reflect World Netball’s commitment to operating within an Ethical framework.
World Netball is the sole, internationally recognised, governing body for netball affiliated to International World Games Association (GAISF) the and the Association of Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF).
It receives funding from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in recognition that World Netball creates a better world through netball, inspiring netballers to embrace opportunities and achieve their potential.
Netball is played in more than 100 countries around the world with 76 National Netball Associations affiliated to the World Netball which are grouped into five regions – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania — each with a respective Regional Federation, an integral part of the global governance structure and assist in the implementation of World Netball policies and the development of the sport in their respective regions.
Netball, that is becoming more glamorous across the world, is mostly played by countries in the Commonwealth and its top teams are New Zealand, Australia, England, Jamaica, Malawi, South Africa, Wales, Scotland, Fiji and Uganda.
Meanwhile, Netball France — which was established in 2020 — is taking roots in that nonCommonwealth country and seeks to become a fully-fledged member of Europe and World Netball.
A report on World Netball News, the Netball France is recognised by its Ministry of Sports that is supporting the process to be recognised by the sport’s two key international member and governing organisations.
The sport’s top competitions are the Commonwealth Games, The World Netball Championship and invitational Test Series, which are recognised by the world governing bodies.
The next Netball World Cup in 2023 is set to be hosted — for the first time ever — by Africa from July 28 to August 6, 2023 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa.
The baton was handed over to Netball South Africa president, Cecilia Molokwane at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool 2019 while the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is set from July 28 in 2022, to be hosted by the reigning champions, England.