It was a sad day for sports in the country yesterday as national football and netball teams were both shown the exit in Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup and African Netball Championship despite dodging defeats from their opponents.
The Queens cruised to a convincing 71-39 victory over Botswana at Lugogo MTN Arena in Kampala, Uganda at the continental showpiece while the Flames held Angola to a goalless draw at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in South Africa.
However, the results were too little too late and merely a consolation for fans back home.
The Queens have missed the continental crown as they have finished second to the hosts ,Uganda, who had a superior basket difference even before playing their last match against Zambia which they eventually won 67-50.
But Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu said they were happy with the Queens improvement in the last match.
“Although we have not taken the ultimate glory, we are excited with the Queens’ improved performance today. They saved the best for last,” she said.
The Flames, on the other hand, were hoping for a miracle to happen for them to proceed to the quarter-finals of the Cosafa Cup.
To qualify, Malawi needed to beat Angola and pray that Mauritius likewise beat Tanzania in the other Group A clash played at the same time, to force a four-way tie at the top of the pool to advance on goal aggregate.
However, the misfiring Flames only managed a goalless draw as they exited the competition without scoring a goal and condemned to the bottom of the group.
Tanzania qualified for the quarter-finals as leaders and meet South Africa after coming from behind to draw one-all against Mauritius.
But coach Ronny Van Geneugden wore a brave face in post match interview with SuperSport, praising his charges for a spirited performance against a strong Angola side.
“I also think we deserved a penalty earlier in the first half,” he said.
Flames goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe was named man-of-the-match.
The Nyasa Big Bullets player said the award was an honour. n