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The highs and lows of Malawi Queens at NWC

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Some quarters have labeled Malawi Queens as the pride of the nation following their exploits on the international scene.

The Malawi national netball team battled to break into the top 10 and managed to reach position six in 2005 and position five in 2006 , a lot has been expected from the team.

It has been the wish of every netball fan for Queens to overcome the hurdle and smash the jinx which bars them from moving up the table.

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The 2015 Netball World Cup staged in Sydney, Australia provided the perfect opportunity for the team to defy odds.

Record breaking

The Malawi national netball team started its campaign on promising note after beating continental rivals South Africa 58-51.

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It was a result that underlined Queens’ appetite to break into the top four having lost to South Africa the four previous games including back-to-back defeats in the Diamond Challenge and the 2013 Africa Netball Championship decider at Blantyre Youth Centre.

After humbling South Africa, Queens announced their return to form when they became the first side since 2003 to register a three-figure score when they humbled Sri Lanka 101-18.

The Queens then went on to humble Singapore 75-31 to finish as pool C winners with an unbeaten record.

Painful defeat

The nation came to a standstill on Friday when Malawi Queens nearly caused its first ever upset in netball circles during the just ended Netball World Cup.

The setting was Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia when Queens put up a spirited performance against third-ranked Jamaica.

Prior to the game against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls, number two ranked New Zealand were stretched to all corners when they sweated to overcome Queens 57-49.

It was a result that renewed belief among netball loving Malawians that everything was possible and it did not come as a surprise when Queens approached the match against Jamaica with a mission to shock the netball heavyweight and the entire netball fraternity.

But at the end it was the same case as Queens narrowly lost 63-62. It was a result that defined Malawi’s stance on netball front.

For the first time, Malawians had hoped that the team would break into the top four but despite the gallant performance, Queens failed to reach the semifinals.

Heart-breaker

After the painful loss, Queens were given an opportunity to at least maintain its top five position in a world tournament.

Malawi recovered on time to beat Wales 71-52 to set up a position five/six play-off against rivals South Africa.

Having defeated the Spar Proteas in the opening game of the preliminary round, the Queens were left weeping and gnashing their teeth when they let South Africa stage a comeback to win 48-46 to settle for position six.

Mwawi, Lwazi earn rare recognition

It was a campaign that provided mixed fortunes and the other positive came when towering shooter Mwawi Kumwenda was named player of the tournament.

The absence of experienced centre court players Tina Kamzati- Jahness and Beatrice Mpinganjira from Malawi Queens that participated in the Netball World Cup caused jitters among netball die-hards.

Most local netball followers were not convinced that Blue Eagles Sisters skipper Takondwa Lwazi would fit in the pairs’ shoes.

Bu t Lwazi earned rare recognition from the organizers with her movement and ball distributing skills.

“What Malawi centre, Takondwa Lwazi, lacks in height – being equal shortest in the competition – she makes up for in agility and stamina with her quick turnovers and goal assists. Her role was pivotal,” reported the competition’s website nwc2015.com.au.

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