South Africa clinched Africa Netball Championship over hosts Malawi Queen with a narrow in of 54-52 at Blantyre Youth Centre before a record partisan crowd.
The Queens gave false hopes to home supporters- who gave vociferous support- when they gave a spirited performance but within a minute before the final whistle they conceded 3 baskets for South Africa to level 44-44 forcing the game into extra-time .
Tina Kamzati had to be substituted after breakdown in tears.
After resumption, South Africa, who looked technically superior pinned the Queens down, registering one basket after another to the annoyance of home fans.
Within two minutes after threw off, South Africa were leading Malawi 45-49.
Malawi regrouped impressively in the last quarter and forced their way back into contention as up-and-coming Joyce Mvula scored two quick-baskets and then Sindi Simutowe also pilling up the pressure on the Proteas who wore red armbands in tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela.
The Queens were within two goals reach as the game entered the final two minutes, but loss of concentration killed off their hopes as South Africa sealed a hard-fought success with their quick passing game.
Many Malawians could not take the loss, they dispersed in tears.
Despite failing to defend the title, the Queens proved that have a strong squad of Joyce Mvula, Sindi Simutowe, Beatrice Kadango, Tina Kamzati, Joana Kachilika, Caroline Ngwira, Laurene Ngwira and Grace Mhango.
Dejected Malawi coach Peace Chawinga told Nyasa Times: “It is a very excruciating loss.”
Before winning the titl, the team in the green and gold thrashed Namibia 75-34 in their opening game on Tuesday and went on to beat Swaziland 73-28 in a thrilling encounter on Wednesday. They held on for a hard fought 46-39 victory against Uganda in their African Netball Championships match on Thursday.
South Africa head coach Elize Kotze praised her charges for showing “extreme character.”
“Playing amidst a huge Malawian crowd was very intimidating, but we did it,” she said.
“I am extremely proud” said Kotze.
“We have now lost the Malawi ghost, and are officially top in Africa and fifth in the world.”
The eight-member competition threw off on Monday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :