Just like Zidane, Waya Will Always Be A Legend

By peter kanjere

Whisper from
Southern Africa, Malawi sports journalis

Zinedine Zidane, the most decorated football monk for Real Madrid andFrance, is, in coaching, an infant who learnt to run before he could crawl and walk—now he must learn the coaching baby steps from scratch. Inside two unbelievable years when father time flew so fast, Zidane swept all available club silveware in his first two years as Madrid coach.

Two Uefa Champions League titles, Fifa Club World Cup and La Ligachampionships are silverware that Arsene Wenger, after all these decades in football management, can only dream of.But time is such a merciless brute Zidane has now fallen on hard times as his Madrid are in a real La Liga mess, ejected from Copa del Rey and perched nine points behind runway leaders and rivals, Barcelona.

Zidane’s success is fast disappearing into a scant distant memory because in coaching, you are as good as your last game. The last game ended in defeat for Zidane; hence, the man of Algerian
ancenstry cuts a picture of, if not a worried man, then of one teetering on the brink of depression. Others suggest that it is only Champions League glory that can save Zinedine’s job.

But even if Zidane gets the sack, he will always remain a football legend. At least, to most football fans who call Planet Football home. Like Zidane, Mary Waya is a legend of netball in Malawi and across the world, and she should earn her respect. Waya’s complaint that she feels used by Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) is valid.

Nam has hired Griffin Saenda Senior as coach for Malawi national netball team while, without courtesy, leaving Waya to deal with her own questions and answers. Yet a few months ago, with Saenda bed-ridden and interim coach Sam Kanyenda jumping ship in protest over Nam’s infamous decision to expel star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda from the team, sought Waya’s help.
Waya inherited a team in crisis.

Some 10 straight defeats followed for Waya and a few months later, Nam has enlisted Saenda’s services. Nothing wrong with the decision but that Waya learnt about her exclusion through the media smacks of disrespect. Waya carved out her legendary status while playing for Malawi national netball team, starring on the biggest of stages such as the Commonwealth Games and indeed, world championships.

That Malawi once climbed to fifth position on the world chart and number one in Africa is all down to players such as Waya, Emma Mdzagada, Peace Chawinga Kalua, Linda Magombo-Munthali, Judith Chalusa, Slyvia Mtetemera and the late Connis Mhone. That was long time back way before the likes of Kumwenda and Caroline Mtukule Ngwira emerged on the court.

It is based on her distinguished career that Tanzania netball authorities hired Waya as coach years ago. Teams in the United Kingdom invite Waya to help out with specialised coaching of shooters.
International Netball Federation holds Waya in high esteem. However, the transition from playing to coaching is never easy for most sports icons. Coaching is a different jungle where you can easily
get lost.

It might be for this reason that Waya has never really translated when coaching the senior team.
But, it is not her fault that she is appointed head coach when a team in the UK hires her as shooters’ coach. The fact that she has not succeeded with the senior team does not make
Waya a failure.
Pele and Maradona flopped in coaching but nobody calls them flops. Like Zidane, Waya is a netball legend. Her legendary status is cast in stone.

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