By Ronald Mpaso:
The 2018 Fast 5 Netball World Series is set to throw off at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, with Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) asking for a better outcome from the Malawi national netball team than last year’s sixth-place finish.
The Queens open the tournament with a showdown against hosts Australia Saturday with the hope of replicating their 2016 sterling performance that saw them win bronze.
Nam General Secretary, Carol Bapu, said the association tasked the coaching panel with the target of finishing in the top five at the tournament.
“We did not perform well last year but, this time, we believe the team will do better. Our expectation is that the worst we will achieve there is finishing in the top five. It is possible for us to do even better than that,” Bapu said.
She said there were no injury concerns in the team, although it will be missing the services of iconic shooter Mwawi Kumwenda.
Mwawi is recovering from a knee injury and, according to her Australian club’s website melbournevixens.com.au, her period of recovery is uncertain.
But Malawi Coach, Griffin Saenda, was even more ambitious in his sentiments as the team left for the venue of the competition on Monday, promising to finish within the top three.
The Queens’ second match will be against England before they take on Jamaica to wrap up tomorrow’s assignments.
The tournament will be concluded on Sunday, with Malawi locking horns with South Africa in the first match of the day, before playing against New Zealand.
Saenda said his major task at the two-day showpiece is to inspire the Queens to a bronze medal finish.
“My target is to finish on position three but if we fail to hit that target, then at least we should move from position six to five. This will be a sign of our progress in the game,” he said.
The revered trainer has the defensive capabilities of captain Joanna Kachilika to bank on as his team enters the battlefield.
Manchester Thunder ’s Joyce Mvula is likely to lead the attack, with Thandie Galeta and Takondwa Lwazi likely to be in contention for the centre court role.
Versatile Lauren Ngwira could be the Queens’ trump card as she can switch roles between defence and attack.
Other possible starters are Alinafe Kamwala, Jessie Mazengera Sanudi, Martha Dambo, Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda and Jane Chimaliro.
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