It may have been the play-off for fifth, but giant-killers the Malawi Queens celebrated like they had taken out the Fast5 World Series title after their 33-30 victory over Australia tonight.
Mwai Kumwenda, the Malawi Queens’ star shooter, was beaming for a long time after the victory: “We are very excited, Australia are a very tough team.”
It was the second time during the tournament that the crowd darlings had beaten Australia, world champions of the seven-a-side game, on top of a victory over Fast5 finalists England.
“It has been a good experience for us. Most of the time we can’t come to events because of money. But this has been good for us, and people in Malawi are so excited,” said Kumwenda, who would love the opportunity to play in the ANZ Championships.
The Australians, on the other hand, were coming to terms with leaving Auckland without a win during the three-day tournament, but coach Lisa Alexander was far from despondent.
“Malawi did a great job. In their second quarter they completely and utterly outplayed us, and we weren’t totally expecting that.” Malawi led 18-12 at halftime.
“But I was really proud of the way the girls game back and shot some six pointers and three pointers,” Alexander said of the Fast5 Diamonds, who drew back within one going into the final quarter.
Hosts New Zealand thrashed England 23-21 in the Fast5 grand final.
Malawi which has claimed the fifth place will certainly lose the first sport in Africa as their rivals South Africa finished with bronze after pulling off a shock 38-34 win over Jamaica in the play-off for third and fourth.
1 New Zealand
3 South Africa