At least four players will make their international debut this morning as Malawi Queens start their African Netball Championship campaign against Zimbabwe at the Lugogo MTN Arena in Kampala, Uganda.
Kukoma Diamonds’ duo shooter Alinafe Kamwala and defender Wezzie Mzemba-Msiska alongside Blue Eagles Sisters defender Juliet Sambo and her Civonets counterpart Colleta Mwalilimo have vowed to make their first international appearances count with impressive performance.
The quartet has been earning a number of call-ups, but it has been difficult for it to make a breakthrough into the first team.
But with six experienced players Mwawi Kumwenda, Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira, Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda, Takondwa Lwazi and Laureen Ngwira failing to honour their call-ups, the four have finally made the grade.
“This is my chance to prove that I deserve a permanent place in the senior national team,” said Kamwala, who was dropped from the squad last year despite emerging as 2015 GOtv Netball League’s best shooter. “I promise to give my all.”
On her part, Mzemba-Msiska said she would like to use the international stage as a platform to sell herself to professional clubs around the world.
The 12-player squad has eight netballers that have previously tasted the international stage although most of them did not have more than two appearances.
Captain Joana Kachilika, vice-captain Jane Chimaliro, Bridget Kumwenda, Beatrice Mpinganjira, Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi, Martha Dambo, Thandie Galeta and Joyce Mvula, who is back from six-month loan at English top-flight league side Manchester Thunder, are all set for more caps.
Coach Griffin Saenda said his charges are ready to bring home the ultimate prize from the continental showpiece.
“From what I observed throughout our preparations, there is nothing that will stop us from winning the title,” he said.
In their second game on Monday, Queens will take on Uganda before tussling against Namibia, Zambia and Botswana on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.