Malawi Queens on Sunday made a quick recovery from a jittery first-quarter to produce a confidence-boosting 60-23 win over Namibia’s Desert Jewels in their Cosana Tri-Nations Cup opener at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences Sports Complex in Blantyre.
Namibia narrowly led by a single basket for the first quarter to end 10-9, but that was the only segment the visitors gave the hosts a tough time.
From then on, Queens shooters Tendai Masamba and Jane Chimaliro converted almost all their attempts and a tight defensive line marshalled by captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and United Kingdom-based Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda thwarted most of Namibia’s scoring opportunities.
Even Masamba and Chimaliro’s replacements Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya and Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi, who enjoyed some crispy passes from centre Takondwa Lwazi-Mtonga and wing-attacker Bridget Kumwenda, did not dissapoint as they continued to torment the Jewels’ defenders.
No wonder they managed to increase the tally to 28-15 and 41-22 in the subsequent segments. A 37-basket margin win was a deserved result for the Queens, who are the highest-ranked team in the competition.
Mtukule-Ngwira said: “We tried our best to do well and we are delighted to have delivered. We are looking forward to our next fixture and will continue to make the country proud.”
This was an improved victory for the world seventh-ranked Queens against the 22nd-ranked Desert Jewels. In their last meeting at the Africa Netball Championship in Namibia last November, Malawi triumphed 53-44.
In the other match on Sunday, 13th-ranked Zimbabwe’s Gems beat Namibia 48-36.
The Queens will this evening, from 6pm, take on the Gems in their second match.
Queens official sponsors FDH Bank plc said they were proud to see the team have a good start.
The bank’s public relations and marketing manager Lorraine Chikhula said: “As a sponsor we are very happy and proud of the Queens. Our aim has always been sports development and this is what we like to see. We are confident of the team’s performance in the next games, including the upcoming Commonwealth Games.”
Netball Association of Malawi general secretary Isaac Chimwala said they were happy with the Queens’ performance as well as patronage. He also thanked FDH Bank and the government for financially supporting the four-day competition.