Malawi Queens ended their 2019 Netball World first round outing in Liverpool on Sunday with a win against Barbados 69-48 and set to qualify in the next round.
Boosted by Joyce Mvula who plays in English top-flight netball league, Malawi Queens had Jane Chimaliro, Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya, Lauren Ngwira and Alinafe Kamwala giving a good performance and ensuring the team gets to next round.
Malawi got off to a shaky start from a delayed centre pass, and consequently Joyce Mvula failed to convert their first shooting opportunity into a goal. Barbados were quick to react and within seconds Shonica Wharton scored the first goal of the match.
However Malawi soon regained possession and directed the ball back to their own shooting-circle where Mvula got Malawi off the mark.
The first five minutes continued in an even pattern, before Malawi stepped up their centre-court intensity and began to dominate. Takondwa Lwazi controlled Malawi’s shooting circle, receiving and feeding balls into Mvula and Jane Chimaliro, who scored nine goals with no response, contributing to a Malawian lead of 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Their first quarter performance ensured a confident start to the second by the Queens, and Mvula and Chimaliro continued to build their advantage. Barbados’ duo Sheniqua Thomas and Shonica Wharton were on form in front of the net, but quick movement between Lawzi and Thandie Galletta in particular allowed Malawi to extend their lead to 35-20 at the break.
Barbados saw possession overturned early in the third quarter, when a superb Lawzi interception triggered a Malawian attack which would end in a superbly-executed Mvula goal.
The Gems’ shooters continued to be a force to be reckoned with, however, Malawi were taking full advantage of the amount of penalties awarded in the attacking third, extending their lead further and again winning the quarter 17-11.
Chimaliro was substituted early in the final quarter, and Malawi looked to tire slightly and it looked like a late Barbadian rally though, Malawi had enough in the locker to get over the line comfortably, by a scoreline of 65-41.
Mvula scored 31 goals from 33 attempts, Chimarliro had 23 goals from 25 attempts and Alinafe Kamwala chipped in with eight goals from eleven attempts.
Queens lost the opening fixture to New Zealand 64-45 and went on to beat Singapore on Saturday before another win on Sunday.
The win against Barbados will see the side progress to next round of the competition.
Queens’ coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda said he was pleased that the side had maintained the winning streak after an opening defeat to fourth ranked in the world, New Zealand.
“We hope to keep the momentum in the next round,” he said.
Meanwhile, the support given by Malawians in Liverpool has not gone without notice.
Both coach Saenda and Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) president Khungekile Matiya praised the vociferous support of Malawians who watched the games led by those who live in Liverpool.
In all matches, Malawians in Liverpool led by Goodson Saiwala and his wife Charity Njewa Saiwala, renowned for their appearance at the X-Factor show – were all vocal in support of the Queens at the M&S Arena.
The Queens were also grateful for the support that Malawians in Liverpool for a warm welcome and support to the team with others Laura Bertha Mndolo, Suzanna Msonthi, Msatida and Alice Kalebe Chimuzu being instrumental to raising the morale of the players.
On his part Saiwala exonerated Malawians from Liverpool about a social media appeal, negatively being made by some that the players’ allowances are such a pittance that they can’t even afford the luxury of buying ice cream for themselves whilst on break at the World Cup.
“That appeal did not originate from Malawians living in Liverpool. This is sport and it unites all of us. Let’s not put our country to shame,” he said.
Saiwala said there focus is now to give support to the team and they have moved on.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :