By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi national netball team’s quest to impress at the Vitality Netball World Cup was put to test as the Queens sweated to defeat Northern Ireland 47-43 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, Monday.
In Monday’s game, Malawi Coach, Griffin Saenda Senior, continued with his rotation policy by resting in-form recuperating shooter Joyce Mvula in the first quarter.
Skipper Joanna Kachilika partnered Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda and Lareen Ngwira in defence whereas centre Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga was rested for the first time to hand wing attacker Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera a starting place.
Thandie Galeta started at centre while goal shooter Sindie Simtowe-Msowaya and goal attacker Jane Chimaliro combined in attack.
It was a see-saw encounter which saw Malawi narrowly leading throughout all the quarters.
Malawi led 12-9 at the end of the first quarter but the threat posed by Northern Ireland forced Saenda to pull out Simtowe-Msowoya for Mvula, with Kumwenda- Chalera being replaced by Lwazi-Mtonga.
During the second quarter, Malawi introduced Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango and Caroline Mtukule- Ngwira for Kachilika and Ngwira, respectively.
At half time, Northern Ireland trailed the Queens by 22-20 scoreline.
The start of the third quarter saw Malawi replacing Galeta with Kumwenda-Chalera. This helped the Queens to finish the quarter leading 34-32.
In the fourth quarter, Saenda pulled out Mwafulirwa-Mhango for Kachilika to wrap up the match 47-43.
Malawi reached the second phase of the preliminaries after finishing behind leaders New Zealand.
The Queens lost to Silver Ferns 64-45 but defeated Singapore 87- 38 and Barbados 65-41.
Saenda told the media after the game that his charges did well to contain Northern Ireland.
“We are taking each game at a time,” he said.
The Queens face number one-ranked Australia this evening then Zimbabwe on Thursday afternoon.
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