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Queens’ opponents step up preparations

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By Ronald Mpaso:

SAENDA –They are trying several players

Malawi national netball team’s opponents at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the global showpiece.

The Queens will face New Zealand, Barbados and Singapore as they seek to redeem themselves after disappointing performances at the Commonwealth Games and the African Netball Championship.

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But while Malawi are idle after last month’s continental competition in Lusaka, Zambia, their major opponents New Zealand were in action over the weekend.

The Pacific Ocean island nation team travelled to Melbourne, Australia, for the Quad Series where they lost 60- 55 to the unbeaten hosts.

Queens Coach Griffin Saenda said he watched matches at the tournament and believes that with good preparations, his team has chances to do well.

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Saenda said he noticed that New Zealand had made several changes to their line-up after a dismal performance at the Commonwealth Games.

“They are trying several players. While several players who were there at the Commonwealth Games were retained, others were not there. That is what happens when you have a big pool of players,” he said.

Malawi famously shocked New Zealand 57-53 at last April’s Gold Coast City Commonwealth Games and will be hoping for a repeat performance.

In the other match on Saturday, Commonwealth Games champions England managed a hard-fought 45-42 win over South Africa to clock up their second victory.

Second place for the Roses equalled their best finish in the Quad Series after their runners-up spot in South Africa eight months ago.

Helen Housby shot at 89 per cent for the game as the Roses fought back from 41-38 down in the final minutes.

England had won their opening game of the round-robin tournament, defeating New Zealand 52-39 before being beaten 52-47 by Australia in their first meeting since the Commonwealth final.

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