Malawi Queens will meet third-ranked New Zealand Silver Ferns in the opening match of the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool next July.
Silver Ferns will seek revenge against Malawi Queens, the side which humiliated them at the Commonwealth Games, 57-53 in pool play on the Gold Coast in April.
The two sides will open the 16 team tournament on July 12 2019.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu said they have noted the fixture and will relish an opportunity to have winning start.
“We defeated New Zealand at this year’s Commonwealth Games so we can do it again at the World Cup,” said Bapu.
However, she said the focus now for Malawi Queens is the 018 Fast5 Netball World Series which throws off next month in Melbourne, Australia.
But Malawi Queens, as usual, are yet to start preparations for the tournament that attracts the world’s top six netball teams.
Malawi is yet to recover from an embarrassing performance at Africa Netball Championship in Zambia where the Queens struggled against low-ranked but fast-improving teams such as Zambia and Uganda.
Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua has welcomed the opportunity to play Malawi in the World Cup opener.
“Malawi are a great team and playing them first-up means we have to be really well prepared and ready to go from day one,” she said as quoted by New Zealand media.
“We have to start the tournament as we mean to finish it. Having a top-quality opponent in our first game will set the tone and that means getting our campaign under way with a positive and decisive start. We’ll need to be at the top of our game against them and that’s what we’re working towards.”
In the Preliminaries Stage One, four groups of four teams will contest a round robin format, teams being assigned to their group by seeding based on their world rankings.
Preliminary Stage One groups to contest the 15th edition of the Netball World Cup:
Group A: Australia, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka.
Group B: New Zealand, Malawi, Barbados, Singapore.
Group C: Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji.
Group D: England, Uganda, Scotland, Samoa.