The continent’s number one ranked team South Africa will not take part in the Africa Netball Championship slated for Kampala, Uganda from June 24 to 30.
Spar Proteas are among three teams that have shunned the competition.
International Netball Federation (Ifna) has nine members in Africa, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Out of these, six—Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe—have confirmed their participation, according to Ifna Africa regional development manager Joan Smit.
Smit said in an e-mail response that Lesotho and Swaziland are the other two teams that will not make the trip to Kampala.
The absence of Malawi’s rivals, South Africa, means the Queens mission to overthrow them will have to wait a bit longer.
Even if the Queens win the cup, they cannot overtake the Proteas since teams that will be at the competition are lowly ranked.
Malawi can only get meaningful points if they beat the top team, South Africa.
The Proteas have in the past dodged playing against Malawi at such competitions to protect their position as the continent’s best team.
Malawi beat South Africa at the last edition of the Fast5 tournament in Australia and this might have scared the Proteas.
Commenting on the development, Queens coach Griffin Saenda said South Africa knows that if they participate and lose to Malawi, they will automatically lose their position as the best team in Africa.
“They have done this in the past. It’s their strategy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Queens are expected to fly to Uganda on Sunday.
The Queens will be without Australia-based Melbourne Vixens shooter Mwawi Kumwenda, vice-captain Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Blue Eagles Sisters’ centre Takondwa Lwazi, defender Carol Mtukule-Ngwira and Tigresses’ defender Laureen Ngwira.
But Saenda said they have confidence in the squad that they will take to Uganda.
“The absence of the players actually gives the others a chance to prove they are capable of doing it,” he said. n