Malawi national netball team returns to the court for the first time after remaining inactive for a year with a showdown against continental rivals South Africa’ Spar Proteas this evening.
This will be the first of a three Test Match series scheduled for Sun City.
The next game will take place Friday evening with the last match set for Sunday.
The matches are crucial for both South Africa and Malawi to improve their respective world rankings.
The Proteas are ranked first in Africa and fifth in the world whereas the Queens are second on the continent and sixth in the world.
Queens Coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa is missing some key players including Austrlia-based Mwawi Kumwenda of Melbourne Vixens and Manchester Thunder shooter Joyce Mvula but believes the players she has would deliver the goods.
“We are well prepared for the match. Of course with the Covid-19 pandemic, somehow our performance might be affected due to the long break. We have different strategies depending on the players we have. We had a fourth Covid-19 test yesterday [Tuesday] and we are waiting for the results which we hope will be okay,” Chawinga-Kaluwa said.
The Queens have newcomers such as Maggie Sikwese, Beauty Basiyao, Tendai Masamba, Juliet Sambo and Mary Nyirenda who Chawinga-Kalua said needed to work hard to break into the team.
“We want to give every player the opportunity to play. At times it is difficult to make changes under such circumstances but we have planned to use all the players during the match,” she said.
Malawi have plenty of experienced players such as Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira, Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Takondwa Lwazi, Sindie Simtowe-Msowoya, Beatrice Mpinganjira, Thandie Galeta and Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera.
Proteas Coach Dorette Badenhorst has named a 15-member squad for the series.
Sigi Burger, who was part of the South Africa 2019 World Cup team, has also been selected.
The star shooter won gold at the African Netball Championship in Cape Town, South Africa, in October last year.
Another Protea star, Ine-Marí Venter, is set to add to her caps after debuting for the national side in 2016.
She will bring plenty of shooting experience from the Suncorp Super Netball League where she plays for top-flight club Queensland Firebirds.