Malawi Queens, who won silver ‘trophy’ for finishing second in the at Diamonds Challenge Netball Series held in South Africa, returned home through Chileka Airport on Sunday but they got a cold reception, annoying the players.
The Queens were welcomed with a hired 15 seater high roof min-bus and the players were visibly irked to see a high roof waiting for them instead of a Sports Council 36-seater bus as it has been a traditional.
The body language from the players could tell that they were dismayed and uncomfortable to board the minibus.
The only good news was that the players were welcomed by sponsors Airtel Malawi officials, Netball Association of Malawi general secretary Carol Bapu and Southern Region Netball League officials that included Anne Hanjahanja.
The Queens only lost twice to South Africa during the competition but they managed to win Silver for finishing second.
Airtel Malawi Cooperate Sales Officer Richard Nkombezi said although the Queen did not clinch the Diamonds Challenge trophy, they were happy that they managed to get second position.
“Well done for putting up a gallant fight,” said Nkombezi.
“You gave out your best to claim that position. We do not want to highlight much of the low moments experienced during the tournament because we believe experience is the best teacher and thereby grants you the opportunity to put your house in order so that you do better in your next assignment,” said Nkombezi.
He also said it was pleasing to note that Queens continue to be the pride of Malawi.
“Everywhere they go; Malawi is assured to be entertained by their impressive skill and achievements. We do not want take that for granted,” he said.
To players and Netball Association of Malawi, Airtel Malawi said they have a daunting challenge to turn the tables and rewrite history by making sure that this year, the Queens break into the top four World ranking.
The Queens coach Peace Kaluwa said they have learnt a number of tactics during the tournament.
“The girls played out their lungs out but it was painful that they lost to South Africa with a narrow margin and poor officiating. People should not get worried because soon we will bounce back and break into the top four,” said Kaluwa.
She went on to say: “We lost to South Africa but there are more positives than negatives. We had a group of young players and they performed well during the games.
“It is our hope that in future competitions we will perform better than we did in South Africa,” said Kaluwa who took over from Mary Waya as Queens’ head coach.
The Diamond Challenge is an annual netball tournament hosted by South Africa. The She Cranes of Uganda secured third place after beating Zambia.
The Queens are expected to proceed to Namibia where they will be taking part in the African Netball Championship competition which starts on 24th June and ends on 27th June in Windhoek.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :