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Malawi Queens die fighting

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Malawi Queens on Friday morning failed to make it to the semi finals of the Netball World Cup after narrowly going down to Jamaica  62- 63 in Sydney, Australia.

According to ABC News, Jamaica held off a gallant Malawi Queens, winning 63-62 to seal a place in the Netball World Cup semi-finals.

Malawi Queens brought the same drive and determination that saw them nearly topple New Zealand two days ago, the Queens surging from behind to within a goal’s margin of Jamaica during the third quarter on Friday and maintaining the pressure throughout the final term.

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The win means the Sunshine Girls of Jamaica are likely to play defending world champions Australia in a semi-final on Saturday.

“It was a tough game,” Jamaica shooter Romelda Aiken said.

“All the African teams stepped it up quite a lot and it was really tough out there.”

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Aiken said Malawi’s push and shove was the most difficult aspect of their game to handle and earned a comparison with the Silver Ferns.

“They always come out to play really hard … even though we got hit we need to take it and man up and continue with the job,” she said.

The Sydney Herald said the Sunshine Girls of Jamaica led at every break, and showed their accuracy in the circle by shooting at an impressive 91 per cent.

It further said that such numbers are nothing to shirk at, but Malawi also put in a stirring performance in the circle, shooting 62 from 64 attempts (97 per cent) to take the game – arguably the best of the World Cup – right until the final minute.

Jamaica’s lead in the final term fluctuated from one goal to two – just enough to deny Malawi from what would have been their maiden World Cup semi-finals appearance.

The Malawi Queens weren’t going to exit the tournament without a fight, and a 17-10 goal third quarter going the way of the African nation helped reduce the margin with a quarter remaining to 48-46.

On Thursday the Queens were given a motivation as Airtel Malawi Limited promised each player K100,000 if they beat Jamaica and clinch a semi-final berth but it was not to be.

Before the Friday encounter, both Queens and Jamaica had two points each, having lost to all-conquering New Zealand in Pool E clashes.

Both sides faced a litmus test when they sweated to beat Uganda. Malawi won 59-53 on Tuesday while Jamaica beat the She-Cranes 59-47 on Thursday.

Currently, the Queens are sixth on world rankings, whereas Jamaica lie third. Prior to the Friday game, Queens were third with Jamaica second courtesy of better basket difference with New Zealand top.

Ever since the competition threw-off, the Queens coach Peace Chawinga has stuck to her strong line-up featuring Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango in defence.

Wing attacker Bridget Kumwenda and centre Takondwa Lwazi have kept the supply lines to goal attacker Sindie Simtowe and goal shooter Mwawi Kumwenda.

Meanwhile, Airtel Malawi’s public relations and corporate communications manager, Edith Tsilizani, said as an official sponsor they were thrilled by the Queens’ exploits and pledged K100,000 to each player.

“The Queens have proved to the world that their prowess in netball circles is destined for greatness. From the games played, we are double sure that the girls went there with a mission to win. As an official sponsor, we are impressed and quite motivated to do more for the sake of glorifying the beauty of the success of the Queens,” she said.

Airtel Malawi sponsors the netball team courtesy of a historical K360 million sponsorship package that was launched in 2013

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