Queens suffer title blow
Malawi National Netball Team’s mission of reclaiming the Africa Netball Cup is almost over after suffering 56-39 defeat to holders, South Africa Spar Proteas, Friday at Wanderers Sports Club in Windhoek, Namibia.
Queens Coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa was left fuming and accused umpires of deciding the match.
Following Malawi’s loss, it is now a two-horse race for the continental honours as both South Africa and Uganda have recorded four straight wins.
For the Queens to recover, they will still need the two sides to slip up.
South Africa led the first quarter 14-11 before extending the lead to 25-22 at half time. At some point during the second quarter, the Queens overtook South Africa but they failed to maintain the rhythm.
Queens missed it in the third quarter, allowing the defending champions to put the game beyond Malawi’s reach as they led 41-29.
In the fourth quarter, South Africa sealed their win as it ended 56-39.
In a post-match interview, Chawinga-Kaluwa felt umpires messed up Malawi’s chances.
“I am a happy coach because my girls displayed what I told them to do. They followed our plan and they were able to maintain pressure. When they were under pressure they were able to maintain the ball,” she said.
The former Queens skipper said they protested against umpires decisions.
“I saw some turnovers but when we went to the umpires desk they were unable to explain themselves. When we were at par [with South Africa] or when we tried to go in front, South Africa did not intercept passes but they were given balls either from offside or delaying, of which we don’t know. When such balls are given on a silver platter it is something else,” she said.
“At half time my captain went to the umpires desk but they couldn’t explain. If they [umpires] come to us to say that they are going to look into the game it is already too late. Giving South Africa three or four balls is dangerous for the other side.”
Much as Chawinga- Kaluwa blamed the umpires for spoiling the game, her charges are also partly to blame.
The defence of Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango was resolute but Shira Dimba at centre court was having a game of ups and downs.
Malawi’s top shooter Joyce Mvula was not at her best while Jane Chimaliro tried but she was limited due to height.
Meanwhile, South Africa Coach Dorette Badenhorst said it was a difficult match.
“It was tough not only on the ball but off the ball. I just want to congratulate my players for doing well. We knew Malawi will come out strong,” she said.