The Malawi national netball team has moved two steps up to seventh from ninth on the International Netball Federation (INF) World Rankings following their satisfactory performance at the 2019 Netball World Cup and test matches in England.
However, the Queens have failed to reclaim the sixth place, which they lost to Uganda’s She-Cranes before their recent assignments two months ago. In Africa, they remain third behind top-ranked South Africa and second-placed Uganda.
INF website on Tuesday stated that the latest rankings reflect matches played up to July 21 2019, which included the World Cup in England, the Pacific Games in Samoa and the test matches Wales hosted early July.
“South Africa and Uganda maintain their [respective] fifth and sixth places and Malawi moves up two places to seventh, pushing Scotland and Northern Ireland down,” the website stated.
While Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) and England-based shooter Joyce Mvula described the rise as a positive development, they expressed the need to work harder to return into the top-six, which would guarantee them automatic qualification into major tournaments such as the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
NAM general secretary Carol Bapu said: “It’s a good development, but we would have loved to return to the top-six.
“We have the ability to achieve that if the team can be participating in tournaments and test series that are considered for world rankings.”
On her part, Mvula said: “It’s a step in the right direction, but we need to take part in more test series to rise even higher.”
Netball analyst Wesley Namasala said Queens need to be given chance to play and win more games to keep on rising.
“The more games the Queens play the higher the chances of keeping on rising. That is, if a majority of the games are won. If we remain idle for a long time, we will definitely stumble again on the rankings,” he said.
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Jameson Ndalama yesterday said government is happy with the development as it shows the Queens put in an effort to achieve the feat.
When reminded that the Queens need full support from government in terms of infrastructure and resources to make it back into the top-six, Ndalama said government is aware of that need.
“As government, we have never failed to support the Queens and we will continue to do so as long as NAM provides us with their programmes in good time. The Queens make the country proud and we will make sure they are fully supported,” he said. On world rankings, Australia remain on top while world champions New Zealand’s Silver Ferns have moved two places up to second. England are third whereas Jamaica have moved down to fourth.