Malawi Queens heaved a sigh of relief on Sunday when they beat Northern Ireland 53-37 during a Quad Series match.
This was their first win in three matches since the national netball team travelled to England last week ahead of the 2019 Netball World Cup between July this Friday and July 22 as they lost 44-57 to third-ranked England’s Roses in a practice match and 47-52 to 12th-ranked Wales in the Quad Series.
The Queens, who recently dropped three places to ninth on the International Netball Federation (INF) World Netball Rankings, led 15-7 in the first quarter before increasing the tally to 28-17 and 41-24 in the subsequent segments against the eighth-ranked Northern Ireland.
“This is a good result since Northern Ireland are ahead of us on the rankings. We pray that this winning prowess continues so we can ably reclaim our good position,” said former Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua.
UK-based Queens’ supporter Geoffrey Phiri, who watched the match, said Malawi coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda featured almost the first starting line-up that lost to lower-ranked Wales but it appeared a much-improved side that rarely misplaced passes or missed scoring opportunities.
“There were only two changes to the first line-up that played against Wales as Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera and Joana Kachilika started in place of Thandie Galeta-Saenda and Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira,” he said.
The Queens’ starting line-up had Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya (GS), Jane Chimaliro (GA), Takondwa Lwazi (WA), Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera (C), Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango (WD), Joanna Kachilika (GD) and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda (GK).
Mtukule-Ngwira, Galeta-Saenda, Laureen Ngwira and Alinafe Kamwala featured as substitutes.
The Queens are expected to start their Netball World Cup campaign against fourth-ranked New Zealand this Friday.