Malawi Queens can comfortably take on minnows Sri Lanka at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia on Saturday after calming the nerves with a 58-51 opening win over rivals South Africa yesterday.
Some 18 places separate the sixth-ranked Queens from the 24th-placed Sri Lanka, hence Malawi has, on paper, an upper hand going into today’s pool C encounter at the Allphones Arena in Sydney.
The group’s other matches will see South Africa’s Spar Proteas seeking to bounce back when facing Singapore, who defeated Sri Lanka 56-43 yesterday to jointly top the group with Malawi.
Queens technical director Griffin Saenda said yesterday that the Queens would stroll on the court against Sri Lanka.
“Every game is crucial, but I am optimistic we will beat Sri Lanka. I was anticipating the win over South Africa because our striking force looked sharp. After being toppled by South Africa, we felt we had lost the world, but we are now back,” said Saenda who did not travel to Australia.
Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa was philosophical in victory saying “There is no short cut to success. We are trying our best.”
The games are coming thick and fast as tomorrow the Queens take on Singapore at the same venue where Malawi bounced back to haunt South Africa in the opening game.
The win over South Africa was a timely response from the Queens, who on Tuesday dropped on rankings ladder from position five to sixth.
Malawi had, in four games, not beaten South Africa since 2013 when the Queens lost the Africa Netball championship on home soil at the Blantyre Youth Centre.
All eyes were on returning Tactix towering shooter Mwawi Kumwenda whose combination with goal attacker Sindie Simtowe was just superb causing nightmare to Spar Proteas’ defenders.
The Queens’ coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa picked her strongest squad featuring goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda, goal defender Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and wing defender Grace Mhango, centre Takondwa Lwazi and wing attacker Bridget Kumwenda.
From the first quarter, the Queens, who thrilled supporters with their flamboyant and playful displays, tormented the heavily-assembled South Africa to lead 14- 12, 27-22 and 41-37 in the opening three quarters.
The Queens made one change; bringing in Thandie Galeta for Bridget Kumwenda but the substitution was not effective forcing the technical panel to reverse the change after Galeta misplaced passes.
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