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Malawi Queens clinch Trinidad and Tobago friendly

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Malawi Queens coach Peace Chawinga- Kalua could heave a sigh of relief over poor preparations for the Netball World Cup after Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) clinched a test-match against Trinidad and Tobago.

Nam general secretary, Carol Bapu, confirmed yesterday that the association had arranged the friendly match against the South Americans on August 4 in Sydney, Australia, just four days before the throw-off of the tournament.

“We managed to secure the friendly match to give the team a chance to tune up ahead of the World Cup. We hope the match will give the players good training ahead of the tournament,” she said.

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Bapu added that the Queens, who are ranked first in Africa and fifth in the world, would leave for the tournament next Wednesday.

Chawinga-Kalua recently complained that lack of warm-up matches could be a major hindrance to the Queens’ hopes of breaking into the world’s top four.

The Queens also missed the Africa Netball Championship held in Botswana last month due to lack of funds.

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“It is hard to go to a major tournament without playing friendly matches. There can’t be a good opportunity to assess the squad properly. We really need at least three strong friendly matches to increase our chances of breaking into the world’s top four,” she said.

“But we will just accept the situation on the ground and we have put measures in place to make sure we do well even without playing enough friendly matches.”

Meanwhile, Queens’ captain, Carol Mtukule- Ngwira said the return of New Zealand-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda was a big motivation to the rest of the players.

Kumwenda seemed hungrier for success in Tuesday afternoon’s training session where she mesmerised the few spectators with her excellent shooting skills that make her one of the best players in the world.

“Mwawi is a top player. We really missed he r during the Diamond Netball Challenge [held in South Africa in June]. We have received her well in camp and everybody is eager to do well at the World Cup,” Mtukule-Ngwira said.

Twelve players would make the World Cup squad and they have the responsibility of improving the Queens’ international record after a poor show at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Diamond Challenge.

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