Malawi Queens skipper issue stern warning to Fast5 opponents

Malawi skipper Caroline Mtukule has plenty of confidence that her team will live up to their label as dangerous underdogs in the Fast5 netball world series.

The Malawi Queens are ranked fifth in the six-nation tournament, which begins in Auckland on Friday.

But the general view among the coaches is that the rules for netball’s new shortened format will make for a wide-open title chase.

England coach Anna Mayes rates Malawi and bottom-ranked South Africa, who both have long-range shooting ability to take full advantage of the potential to score six-point goals, as teams to be wary off.

Part of Malawi star power: Carol Mtukule (left) and Mwayi Kumwenda

Mtukule believes the Fast5 Ferns, who are laden with New Zealand Test players, will go into the three-day tournament as favourites.

But she also has a warning for the hosts, whom the Africans meet in pool play on Saturday.

“We’ll give them a tough time,” she said.

“They have to know that. Every team that’s here, we’ll given them a tough time.”

The defender said Malawi’s target was to finish higher than their ranking and a podium spot was a realistic goal.

She said the Queens had a deadly shooting duo in Mwai Kumwenda and Sindi Simtowe and athleticism throughout the court.

“Every player is dangerous in every position,” she said.

“I’m confident because I know what we are here to do.”

Fast5 is the successor to Fastnet and the field for the inaugural tournament also includes Australia and Jamaica.

Malawi didn’t play in last year’s Fastnet world series.

But they achieved achieved a notable result in 2010 when, with Mtukule and Kumwenda in their squad, they held Australia to a 34-34 draw.

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