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Queens back home

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe:

Malawi national netball team arrived in the country Tuesday after a sixth-place finish at the just-ended Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.

Dressed in black pairs of trousers, black shoes and red blouses, the Queens alighted from a South African Airways flight at 12:30pm.

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Upon arrival, there were hugs and kisses from family members, friends and a handful of netball fans.

Minister of Sports Francis Phiso, Director of Sports Jameson Ndalama and other high-profile officials welcomed the team.

Phiso had a quick message for the players, encouraging them to break into top-three on the world rankings.

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“I was worried with position nine in the world but now I am happy that you have done well to finish sixth. But, in future, let us fight for top-three in the world. We should also keep on working hard so that we remain a force to reckon with on the continent,” Phiso said.

Phiso also urged Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) to start planning for the future by embarking on talent identification exercises.

“We should focus on identifying players for the future because we would not have the same players in the next three years,” he said.

Nam President, Khungile Matiya, said the players displayed solid performances throughout the tournament.

“The players fought hard to reclaim position six in the world. It was not easy for us because competition was stiff as the rest of the teams were also tough,” she said.

Malawi Queens assistant Coach, White Mlilima, said poor preparations were the main problem.

“It was difficult as we started building the team while we were already at the tournament. We could have identified the problems and rectified them before the tournament,” he said.

The Queens beat Barbados, Singapore, Northern Ireland, Uganda and Zimbabwe but lost to Australia, Jamaica and New Zealand.

New Zealand were crowned champions after dethroning Australia following a 52-51 win in an entertaining final.

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