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Mixed fortunes for Malawi netball

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Chawinga Kaluwa

Malawi national netball team, the Queens, are stuck on position seven in the world following latest International Netball Federation (INF) rankings released on Friday.

Queens are behind sixth-placed Uganda and fifth placed South Africa in the world and in Africa Malawi is third behind the two sides.

In the world, Australia is still at the top with New Zealand and Jamaica on second and third positions respectively. England have slumped to fourth position.

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According to www.netball.sport, INF published the World Rankings to reflect all the fixtures that took place before the suspension of international matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These rankings include the games played in January 2020 at the Vitality Netball Nations Cup. The tournament saw New Zealand, England, South Africa, and Jamaica compete across four venues in England, with New Zealand becoming the 2020 Vitality Netball Nations Cup champions.

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“The world rankings see one change in position, with Jamaica (who were runners up at the Vitality Nations Cup) moving up to third marginally ahead of England who move down to fourth, they both have a rating of 172,” read part of the statement on the website.

Queens coach, Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, said Malawi can rise on world rankings if the side competes in Test Series.

“Marginally we are not far away from Uganda. What we need is more Test Series to gain more points to improve our ratings,” she said.

Chawinga-Kaluwa said Test Series could also help groom budding players to develop thick skin to become Queens’ reliable players.

“We have promising players whom we feel will become the backbone of the national team. However, we can’t just throw them into big competitions without preparing them. As such we must compete in Test Series to prepare the players as well,” she said.

Meanwhile, Malawi under-21 national netball team is among top three teams from Africa being considered for next year’s World Youth Cup which is the pinnacle of netball competition for emerging players. The event will be held in Fiji.

The development follows the cancelation of qualifiers due to the coronavirus.

Last week www.guardian.co reported that INF had announced that the qualifiers that were due to be held in Americas, Africa, Europe and Oceania by October, were cancelled and the Board has decided to use INF World Rankings to determine the qualifiers for these regions.

The development means that Malawi will join South Africa and Uganda at the world showpiece.

Through the tournament, Malawi has unearthed a lot of players including Australia based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda.

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