By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi national netball team suffered an embarrassing defeat to world number one Australia when the Queens went down at the on-going Vitality Netball World Cup at M & S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England Tuesday.
The scoreline simply reflected how the Queens have fallen down the pecking order as they are ranked ninth, down from position six out of 42 teams in the world.
Surprisingly, Malawi lost to Australia by four baskets in the 2011 edition of the World Cup when the Queens were then under the guidance of coach Edith Kaliati and assistant coach, Peace Chawinga- Kaluwa.
Malawi started with what looked a second-string side but was still experienced enough as shooter Joyce Mvula and centre Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga were rested whereas Kukoma Diamonds shooter Alinafe Kamwala received a rare start.
It was obvious that the Queens had kept an eye on tomorrow’s game against Zimbabwe in a must-win if they are to stay in contention for a top-six finish.
Kamwala was a huge disappointment as her shooting accuracy was below par.
The Queens trailed 21-2 at the end of the first quarter, before Australia extended the lead to 41-5 at half-time.
Much as Malawi Coach, Griffin Saenda Senior, made changes to the team, the damage had already been done.
At the start of the third quarter, Saenda pulled out Kamwala by restoring Sindie Simtowe-Msowoya to partner Jane Chimaliro whereas Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda was restored to the defence mid-way through the quarter.
Following the introduction of Simtowe-Msowoya, Malawi scored nine baskets in this quarter but still trailed 61-14.
The Queens assistant Coach, Whyte Mulilima, told SuperSport Television that they started with a weaker side because of injuries.
Former Malawi skipper, Emmie Waya-Chongwe, faulted Saenda’s approach to Tuesday’s game.
“The coach should have started with a strong side to contain the pressure and wear down Australia players. After that, he should have rested top players. Some players like Kamwala were not good enough to be in the team,” she said.
Malawi started the competition with a 45-64 loss to New Zealand before beating Singapore 87-38, Barbados 65-41 and Northern Ireland 47-43.
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