Bad habits die hard for Malawi sports. Whenever the Flames and the Queens chalk a fluke win over a giant, context is lost, dirt soiling the game is swept under the carpet and reasoning stops.
Then when it comes to a bad result, the nation goes on a crazy overdrive blaming this and that from dawn to dusk. In doing so, few positives to build the sports fraternity are forgotten.
Is this a sports nation of extremists?
It was no different on Thursday when the Queens returned from Fast5 World Top VI Series in New Zealand with wins over Australia (twice) and England (once) and no trophy to show.
Arguably, it was quite an improved outing for Malawi who, before the New Zealand event had not beaten any of the worldâ€™s top four netball dogs â€” England, Jamaica, Australia and New Zealand.
For starters, the furthest Malawi managed at a similar event held in England in 2010 was a 34-34 draw with Australia with the rest being routine wins over rivals South Africa and the eventual fifth-place finish.
Fast forward to the 2012 competition and Malawi was able to challenge the four super powers. Simplistic thinking would suggest this was quite a giant leap for the Queens.
But wait a minute. The event in New Zealand was not a conventional netball championship on which any realistic measure of the Queensâ€™ progress should be measured.
In addition, sides such as Australia and England featured development sides in New Zealand.
In the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Helene Mpinganjiraâ€™s words, the New Zealand championship â€œwas a bonus event for the world best six teams, hence it will not impact on world rankings.â€
The competitionâ€™s rules support this argument. A team of five players competed in four quarters of six minutes each. Scoring was allowed from any angle of the court like is the case with basketball.
In a conventional netball match, a team comprises seven players, a quarter lasts 15 minutes and only a goal shooter and a goal attacker can score from a goal circle.
The Fast5 was designed more to entertain as the sport seeks to grow its appeal in the world.
If it were in football, this tournament could be like a five-aside game.
But the manner in which the nation has reacted to the Queensâ€™ adventure in New Zealand hardly lacks perspective.
The perception is that the wins registered in New Zealand, despite not translating into improved rankings, signal the Queensâ€™ breakthrough into the top four.
The danger of overzealously celebrating the Queensâ€™ recent outing is that the old bad habits that have derailed the Queensâ€™ prospect of translating their continental dominance into a universal one will continue.
The surest way of ensuring the Queensâ€™ breakthrough is through erecting more netball facilities, introduction of youth competitions and investment in coaching and participation in international competitions.
It is a shame that the nationâ€™s attention on netball starts and ends on the Queensâ€™ flirtation with the best on the international stage instead of investing in the teamâ€™s preparations.