Not over the bridge yet! The resuscitated Malawi Queens need to win their remaining two preliminary round games with the biggest basket difference possible to have hopes of a top-six finish at the on-going Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Currently, the world netball’s seventh-ranked Uganda’s She-Cranes still stand in the way of sixth-ranked Queens to finish within top-three bracket in pool B and qualify for the ultimate top-six battles.
The two sides are tied on two points from three games apiece, but the She-Cranes are six baskets better on goal difference as they are third on the ladder in the six-team group with a minus 17 goal difference.
Nevertheless, both are tasked to beat 10th ranked Wales and ninth-positioned Scotland by the widest score margin possible in their remaining preliminary round matches to avoid falling out of the top-six bracket for the first time..
If the Malawi national netball team successfully outweighs Uganda advantage with wins against Wales tomorrow and Scotland on Thursday, they might as well stand a chance to make the semi-final grade if second-ranked New Zealand’s Silver Ferns falters against third-placed England’s Roses.
Silver Ferns are second in the pool with four points from three games and have a 35 goal difference while the Roses have already taken one last-four slot with unassailable eight points from four-straight wins.
The Queens’ historic 57-53 triumph over top-ranked Silver Ferns on Sunday gave them the probability of getting into the top-six battle despite losing their two opening matches; 49-74 to Roses and 52-54 to She Cranes, who narrowly lost 49-55 to England and 51-64 to Silver Ferns.
“We can do it if we play our cards well; we just need to put our hearts int
o our last two preliminary games and win by the widest score margins. We have already discussed this at length with all the players in the squad and they know what to do,” said Queens’ physical trainer Griffin Saenda Jnr.
Prominent Queens’ shooter Mwawi Kumwenda, who is currently the leading scorer at the games with 115 baskets, yesterday said they will do anything possible not to let the opportunity of the top-six finish slip through their hands.
“We know the battle is still on and we have left no stone unturned to get the best results at the competition,” she said.