The Queens on Thursday vowed to sweat blood against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in Sydney, Australia, this morning in their quest to break into the top four on the world stage.
Malawi face Jamaica at All Phones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park from 6.15am in a make-or-break World Netball Cup (WNC) semi-final qualifying showdown expected to be fiery and passionate.
Both teams are tied on two points having won against Uganda and lost to New Zealand’s Silver Ferns. The winner will wing to the semis as the runner-up to the Ferns in Pool E.
So, this is it—all the dreams, hopes, fears and tears—just everything about this campaign being defined this morning. All the contrasting emotions, all the devotion to the Queens’ campaign by a nation hungry for success, will reach the climax this morning.
The Queens have never made it into the top four of the netball global showcase and the best they have done is finishing fifth, but captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira said they are ready to sweat blood in their bid to break the jinx.
“Umenewu ndi wamagazi! Talila kokwanira [this is a do-or-die match, we have suffered for too long],” said Mtukule-Ngwira.
However, the harsh reality is that it will be a tall order for the Queens, who have never beaten the Sunshine Girls and the last time they met at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Jamaica came out 81-50 triumphant—a yawning 29-basket margin.
However, the Queens are still defiant and confident of causing an upset and appeared a refreshing oasis of calm as they watched the Jamaicans taking on Uganda’s She Cranes yesterday.
It’s not all about reggae music and Bob Marley in Jamaica or superstar sprinter called Usain Bolt, they are also good at netball and to their credit, they are ranked fourth, two places above the Queens.
They thrive on height advantage by using long passes which suffocate their opponents, but Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua said they have designed a strategy to counter the tall Jamaicans.
“We have done some homework and we are optimistic we will take them head on until the last gasp. Fatigue seemed to be catching up with the girls, but we are resting today [yesterday] and they should be fresh by tomorrow [today],” she said.
The Queens have won four of their five matches so far—beating continental rivals South Africa’s Spar Proteas, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Uganda—before losing to the Ferns.
Malawi is expected to face South Africa if they lose today to fight for position five.
Meanwhile, Airtel Malawi has pledged to offer the players K100 000 each if they win today.
Airtel Malawi public relations and communications manager Edith Tsilizani said: “We are proud of them and we want to do the nation pride; hence we have set the hype by pledging K100 000 reward to each.”
The Netball World Cup is held after every four years.