For a nation that is badly in need of hope, the Queensâ€™ African Netball Championship success in Tanzania Saturday morning, was refreshingly welcome.
The triumph, coming barely five days after the plummeting of the Malawi kwacha, was a breath of fresh air for a nation weighed down by economic problems.
The Malawi national netball team (Queens) beat minnows Lesotho 59-18 to win the continental showpiece at the National Stadium in Tanzaniaâ€™s capital Dar es Salaam.
In a game that the Queens needed to win in order to seal the championship, their Basotho opponents froze like flat-footed penguins and they could just not stand the heat.
With captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira at the hub of their best moves, the Queens demolished Lesotho with a performance of hunger, conviction and class.
In the end, they turned the court into a theatre of celebration and there were scenes so beautiful that could have been fit for the eyes of angels in their flight.
The predominantly new-look Queens won all their six games and veteran coach Griffin â€˜Zagalloâ€™ Saenda said he felt good to win the continental showcase on his return.
“I am very happy for the girls. They worked hard and gave their all to achieve this feat. We only trained for eight days, but they managed to play their hearts out, I salute them.
“Apart from coming out victors, the tournament has also helped us to take note of some weaknesses in the new team which need to be worked on ahead of future events.
“I was impressed with performance of the new players, in particular shooter Joyce Mvula who scored most of our baskets,” said Saenda.
He added that the win has proved his critics wrong.
“There was a lot of talk after I named the squad and some people criticised the team selection, saying some of the players I picked were not fit to play for the national team. But they have been proved wrong because I knew exactly what I was doing.
“People should know that every coach has his or her own tactics and must be left to select players they think can do the job ,” he said.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Hellene Mpinganjira said they dedicate the cup to Malawiâ€™s new President Madame Joyce Banda.
“This is a special dedication to the president from the netball family as a token of appreciation for her commitment to developing sports in general and netball in particular.
“Weâ€™ll present the trophy to her. But again, the success is a true testimony that there is life with or without veterans,” said Mpinganjira.
She also thanked the Malawian Embassy in Tanzania for supporting the team.
“Since we arrived on Sunday, they have been coming to our hotel and games to support us. In fact, they organised a dinner for us on Friday. So, we really appreciate their gesture because that motivated us a lot,” she said.
The team returns home today and Mpinganjira has asked for a heroesâ€™ welcome at the Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
The Queens beat Zambia 56-33 in their opening game on Tuesday before defeating hosts Tanzania 34-30 on the same day.
On Wednesday, they team saw-off Zimbabwe 44-22 before beating Botswana 44-22 on Friday.