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Malawi beat England 31-29 in test match

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By Ronald Mpaso:

Malawi national netball team finalised their preparations for the Fast5 Netball World Series with a 31-29 win over England in a test match played in Melbourne, Australia, Friday.

The Queens will throw off the tournament with an opening match against hosts Australia this morning before meeting England again.

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Their last match for the day is against Jamaica as they desperately attempt to replicate their sterling form of two years ago when they finished third at the showpiece.

According to sketchy details of the match from Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary, Carol Bapu, Coach Griffin Saenda Senior used all his players in the match as he worked towards finalising his starting line-up for today’s games.

“It was a perfect opportunity for the coaches to try different combinations for the match, so every player was given a chance to show what they are capable of doing,” Bapu, who has not travelled with the team, said.

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She congratulated the team for the win, saying it is a timely morale booster ahead of today’s matches.

“We needed something like this to build confidence for the tournament. But we should not get carried away because this was only a test match. The girls should up the gear when the tournament begins,” Bapu said.

Saenda has Joyce Mvula, Jane Chimaliro, Alinafe Kamwala, Jessie Mazengera Sanudi as his options in attack  Thandie Galeta and Takondwa Lwazi are the Queens’ centre court players, with the defence comprising Joanna Kachilika, Martha Dambo, Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda, Lauren Ngwira.

Netball analyst Chimwemwe Bakali advised the Queens to develop their own style of play considering their height disadvantage.

“It is a fact that most of our players are short. We are undoubtedly the shortest team at the tournament. So we should avoid high balls which can easily be intercepted by our opponents.

“Otherwise the win will boost our confidence going into the competition. Some people could be saying that England may not have taken the game seriously but this is not true. We have beaten them before and it would have been their wish to avenge defeat,” Bakali said.

He suggested that Malawi should develop a below-the-waist system of play to counter the heights of opponents as was the case during the days of legends such as Mary Waya, Peace Chawinga, late Emma Mdzagada and Linda Magombo Munthali.

The tournament ends tomorrow with Malawi playing against South Africa before locking horns with New Zealand.

Nam has tasked the coaches with a top five finish at the event but Saenda said he is targeting bronze medals at the least.

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