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Queens excluded from international tourney

Malawi’s Queens are among a few top senior national netball teams excluded from participation in the inaugural Vitality Netball Nations Cup in the United Kingdom (UK).

Apart from the Queens, who are ranked seventh in the world and third in Africa, other notable big names missing from the competition are number one rated side Australia and sixth-placed Uganda.

Hosts England Netball did not explain selection criteria for the participants.

Netball Association of Malawi General Secretary, Carol Bapu, did not respond when asked if she was aware of the competition, which throws off on January 19 2020 across three cities in the UK for four days.

But netball analyst Chimwemwe Nyirenda Wednesday said the exclusion of teams such as Malawi might not be linked to rankings.

“I think the selection here was based on many things. You will note that Australia is not on the list. We need to do more on partnerships; interacting with other netball federations,” Nyirenda said.

Sky Sports reports that England Netball association has introduced the competition involving the hosts Roses, New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls and South Africa’s Spar Proteas.

The tournament kicks off at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on January 19 when England host world champions New Zealand and Jamaica face South Africa.

The action will then move to Arena Birmingham for another double header on January 22 and will conclude at the Copper Box Arena in London for the final two days of the competition on January 25 and 26.

Roses Coach, Jess Thirlby, said she was looking forward to the competition.

“This is going to be an extremely exciting event; competition is higher than ever and teams are out to prove themselves following the incredible exposure of the World Cup,” Thirlby is quoted as saying.

“Not only will we be gaining a valuable opportunity to face some of the world’s best teams, we will also be competing in a completely brand new international competition.”

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