Malawi National Netball Team faces a busy and tricky schedule as they need to qualify for the 2023 Netball World Cup to be staged in South Africa.
Unlike in the past, when the Queens qualification for the world showpiece was based on a better rank, this time Malawi will have to take part in the qualifiers to book their slot.
Fifth ranked South Africa qualified courtesy of being hosts whereas sixth-ranked Uganda also qualified for the World Cup as the best ranked team on the continent.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary Isaac Chimwala confirmed that the Queens will compete in the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers next month in South Africa.
“We haven’t yet qualified for the World Cup but we are determined to qualify. Besides South Africa and Uganda, the team that will do well at the event will qualify for the World Cup,” he said.
The qualifiers will come 10 days after the Queens return from the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to run from Thursday, July 28 to August 8.
However, Chimwali was confident the tight schedule will not affect the Queens.
“We have raised a good squad. We should be able to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.
The 2023 Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers will run from August 20 to 27 in Pretoria.
Namibia and Zimbabwe will be Queens’ main rivals at the event as they will battle to secure Africa’s remaining slot to book their slot to World Cup.
Currently, Namibia have hired former Queens coach and captain Mary Waya as their head coach on a month-long contract.
Participating teams include South Africa (the host) Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Eswatini/ Ivory Coast.
Apart from being qualifying games, the competition is also a ranking event as such participating countries will be able to improve on their rankings or worsen it.
Former Nam president Khungekile Matiya, who also sits on Africa Netball board, tipped the Queens to qualify.
“I have all the confidence that Malawi will qualify for the World Cup. They just need to plan and prepare well because all the teams that are participating in the qualifying games are also working hard. So the competition will be tough,” she said.