Malawi Queens yesterday set in motion their camp training at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) ahead of the Fast5 World Netball Series scheduled for October 28 in Melbourne, Australia.
Australia-based shooter Mwawi Kumwenda and Kukoma Diamonds defender Carol Mtukule Ngwira were the only faces in the 20-player squad that were not available on the first day of the preparations.
Queens’ head coach Samuel Kanyenda said yesterday the two players are expected to join camp today as they had some personal issues to settle.
“It is good that almost all the players that were called into camp are accessible. This is important because we will not struggle to build coordination before coming up with a final squad of 10 players on October 20,” he said.
According to Kanyenda, their training sessions will focuson defence as they search for suitable replacements for Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, who could not make it into camp due to pressure of work and maternity leave, respectively.
He said although captain Mtukule-Ngwira has returned after missing last year’s Fast5 on maternity grounds, the technical panel will need at least two more reliable defenders to cover the gap.
“The onus is on Joana Kachilika, Funny Mwale, Juliet Sambo and Martha Dambo to fight for the positions,” said Kanyenda, who was accompanied by his assistant Mary Waya during yesterday’s training session.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu has since appealed to well-wishers to assist the team in cash or kind.
“Our budget for preparations is K31 million and it would be great if well-wishers come in to help before the team leaves for Australia on October 22,” she said.
Until yesterday, the Queens, who made history last year after breaking into the top-three and winning bronze for the first time following a 35-32 victory over England, were the only side yet to start camp for the six-team contest.
This year, they are expected to start their campaign against hosts Australia before meeting England and Jamaica on October 28. The following day, they will entertain rivals South Africa and defending champions New Zealand. n