Featuring a predominantly second-string side, the Queens yesterday beat Wales 71-52 in Sydney, Australia to set up a potentially explosive World Netball Cup (WNC) fifth-place contest against continental rivals South Africa’s Spar Proteas today as a hero’s welcome awaits them.
Yesterday, the Spar Proteas beat fellow Africans—Uganda’s She Cranes 50-40 to reach this far.
Still smarting from Friday’s heartbreaking one-basket margin loss to Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls, which ended their dream semi-final appearance, the Queens saw off Welsh with ease.
They paraded an awesome show of force, not so much by the comfortable manner of their victory, but by crushing Wales while resting the bulk of their key players, including goal-shooter Mwawi Kumwenda, goal-attacker Sindi Simtowe and captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira.
In their starting line-up, the Queens featured Joyce Mvula, Jane Chimaliro, Bridget Kumwenda, Thandi Galeta, Martha Dambo, Towera Vinkumbo-Nyirenda and Loreen Ngwira.
The Queens led 17-13 in the first-quarter, but the Welsh gained momentum in the second-quarter, which they dominated to force a 29-all draw going into recess. However, the Queens stepped up their game in the last two quarters to emerge triumphant.
The top-two ranked sides—Australia and New Zealand—clash in the final match today after beating England and Jamaica 39-50 and 67-56 respectively.
England and Jamaica will compete for a bronze medal after being losing semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, after appreciating the exploits of the Queens at the global showpiece, a group of Queens sympathisers have set up a social media networking fundraiser for the players and are planning to accord them a hero’s welcome.
According to one of the organisers, Hlupekire Chalamba, those that are proud of the Queens’ achievement at the tournament are urged to donate any amount of money towards the cause.
“An up-to-date cash amount and list of names of those who pledge will be provided regularly and the final amount sub-divided will be handed to each player on arrival from Australia,” reads Chalamba’s statement on the group’s WhatsApp page called “Our Queens Our Pride”.
Well-wishers are advised to deposit their contributions to the following two accounts: Standard Bank, Capital City Branch, Current Account No. 014000 4376300 (Hlupekire Phiri) or National Bank, Capital City Branch, Account No. 1275108 (Grand Voyage Car Hire). As we went to print, K1.8 million had been pledged.n