Malawi Queens shooter Mwawi Kumwenda was named the Best Player of the Vitality Netball International Series, but her achievement was obscured by the team’s 10th straight loss since coach Mary Waya took charge in October.
The Queens concluded the three-game series against hosts England with a narrow 60-62 defeat on Wednesday.
Before the latest defeat, they also lost to England 60-66 in the first series on Friday and 53-61 on Sunday.
During the recent Fast5 World Netball Series in Australia, the Queens lost 21-34 to Australia, 15-43 to England, 24-31 to Jamaica, 26-28 to South Africa, 27-29 to New Zealand and 17-28 to South Africa.
They also went down 39-43 to New Zealand in a strength-testing match prior to Fast5.
Waya is the only coach in Queen’s history that has not registered a win at an international event.
When she was in charge of Queens in 2014, the team also lost all its games at Fast5 World Netball Series.
However, observers believe the improvements the team has so far made in terms of performance after the England series are good indications that Waya has a chance to make strides at the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.
At Fast5, the team lost with an average basket difference of 10.5, but they managed to narrow the gap to 5.3 during the test series.
The recent return of Mwawi to the Queens, after she was controversially left out of the squad that participated in the Fast5 due to late arrival in camp, also seems to have enhanced the scoring proficiency.
In the last game, Malawi’s shooting accuracy was at 97 percent against England’s 84.
But the loss of 18 turnovers against the Roses’ six meant that the Queens could not score more than the hosts, who came from nine baskets down to win the game by two baskets.
Former Queens coach Edith Kaliati urged Waya and the players to maintain the pace.
She said: “We will be able to do well at the Commonwealth Games if the technical panel remains at peace with the players.
Former Queens’ player and Southern Region Netball Committee (SRNC) chairperson Judith Chalusa argued the team should work hard to build on endurance.
“From what I have observed, the team is good, but it lacks fitnesses. The fact that England came from nine baskets down in the third quarter to win by two baskets proves this point,” she said.
Waya told BBC Radio that despite the losses, the team had gained a lot from the series ahead of Commowealth Games,” she said. n