By Mphatso Malidadi:
Local netball experts have faulted Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) for Malawi national netball team’s fall by three steps on the latest International Netball Federations (INF) rankings released on Monday.
The Queens have fallen from position two to three on the seven-member Africa list and from six to nine out of 42 teams in the world, according to INF rankings.
Placed fifth in the world, South Africa’s Proteas are Africa’s number one team followed by Uganda’s She- Cranes, who have taken Queens’ position by moving to sixth position whereas Scotland are seventh, with Northern Ireland moving to eighth place.
The development means the honeymoon is over for the Queens, as they would be required to participate in qualifiers for major events instead of earning automatic qualification slots.
Some of the experts cited Malawi’s idleness as the major contributing factor to the fall while others faulted Nam’s leadership for lacking vision to transform the team and netball in general.
Former Queens captain, Emmie Waya-Chongwe, said she was not surprised by the slide, saying the team has paid dearly for not playing in test matches.
“When you are not playing in test matches or regional tournaments, you lose points, leaving room for active teams to gain points. We are out of top six and we are out of automatic qualification for major competitions. Nam needs to prioritise such tournaments so that the Queens can gain more points and fight their way back to the top,” said Waya- Chongwe, who skippered the Queens for 10 years.
Former Nam legal adviser, Felister Dossi, said the Queens must now work hard at the Vitality Netball World Cup set to take place in Liverpool England from July 12 to 21.
“The Queens can move back to the top if they do well against top ranked teams at the World Cup,” she said.
A former Malawi player, who did not want to be mentioned, said Nam should take full responsibility for the Queens’ decline.
“The problem is that when you offer constructive criticism, Nam Executive Committee members take you as an enemy. Most people who could have helped, even those that contested against them, shy away. If Malawi had played test series in South Africa, their points could have increased. Even if they had lost the matches, their points could have increased thereby avoiding this calamity,” she said.
Nam President, Khungekile Matiya, asked for a questionnaire before responding to the issue.
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