Malawi national netball team’s chances of reclaiming the Africa Netball Cup hang in balance after losing 56-51 to hosts South Africa at Bellview Velodrome in Cape Town last evening.
The Queens’ hopes now lie in South Africa and Uganda stumbling in their next games.
Malawi Coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa picked Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango in defence whereas recalled wing attacker Beatrice Mpinganjira partnered Takondwa Lwazi at centre court.
Manchester Thunder shooter, Joyce Mvula, started in attack alongside Jane Chimaliro.
Despite an impressive start, the Queens lost the first quarter 16-11.
Malawi substituted Mpinganjira for Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera at the start of the second quarter but the change had no effect.
At the start of the start of the third quarter, Malawi were the better team and reduced the margin to two goals at one point.
In this quarter, Lauren Ngwira was introduced in place of Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda in a bid to strengthen the defence.
However, the hosts recovered to lead 42-35 at the end of the third quarter.
South Africa continued to prevail in the fourth quarter despite Malawi’s late introduction of Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi for Chimaliro.
The Spur Proteas eventually wrapped up the match 56-51.
This saw Chawinga-Kaluwa facing the reality of beginning her return to the Queens with a loss and said some of the umpiring decisions were harsh.
“As I said before, it was going to be a tough and it was. The players performed well but things did not work. We are meeting the umpires to explain some of their decisions because once mistakes are made, it is difficult to catch up with your opponents,” she said.
The competition’s organizers had revised the fixture during Thursday’s Africa Netball Annual General Meeting.
The meeting resolved to revert to a round robin format as opposed to teams playing in groups.
Following the change, Malawi will face Kenya today and Zambia Sunday.
On Monday, the Queens date defending champions Uganda before concluding the campaign with a tie against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
The team with the most points will win the championship.