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Malawi Queens in tight spot

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By Mphatso Malidadi & Peter Kanjere:

Whyte Mulilima

After losing 25- 74 to Australia’s Diamonds on Tuesday, Malawi national netball team must beat Zimbabwe Gems this afternoon to keep alive chances of finishing in top-six at the on-going Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.

Zimbabwe, ranked 13th out of 42 teams in the world, might be playing in their first-ever World Cup but the ninth-placed Queens cannot afford to underrate them.

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Speaking to SuperSport Television after losing to the world number one, Malawi assistant Coach, Whyte Mulilima, said they were eying the Zimbabwe clash.

“The Zimbabwe match will decide our fate. We started badly but we will re-organise ourselves. By Thursday [today], when we will be playing against Zimbabwe, we would be okay,” he said.

Local netball expert, Chimwemwe Nyirenda, said the Queens could not afford to lose to Zimbabwe.

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“In Group F, Australia lead with six points, on second position is New Zealand with four points and Malawi Queens are third in the group. This includes the two points Malawi Queens earned after beating Barbados. Zimbabwe are on fourth position and Barbados anchor the table.

“Malawi Queens must beat Zimbabwe to remain on third position and hope that Australia should beat New Zealand. It is most likely that the first semi-final would be between Australia and South Africa while England is expected to meet New Zealand. In fifth and sixth playoff, it might be Malawi [if they beat Zimbabwe] meeting Uganda,” he said.

So far, Manchester Thunder shooter Joyce Mvula, Blue Eagles Sisters centre Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga and goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda have been Malawi’s outstanding performers at the World Cup.

Zimbabwe, led by goal-shooter Pauline Jani, beat Barbados 66-41 on Tuesday in a match which pleased the Gems Coach Lloyd Makunde.

“We wanted this, I thought we were going to win and then we won the game, we are happy. But then we are not celebrating, we are waiting for the Malawi game and then after that we can celebrate,” Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper quotes Makunde as saying.

“We are going to do well against Malawi. We know they have rested their star players but, after this win, we have gained confidence so we will tackle them any time.

“This one is a very big win to us but, then, as I said, we want the Malawi game and then we can start to celebrate . . . we would want to play the best so that one day will be the best,” Makunde said.

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