Malawi Queens hope for 6th place
Malawi national netball team, the Queens, are living dangerously in their quest to finish among top six sides at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games after surviving Scotland’s scare to stage a dramatic 51-50 win Tuesday in Australia.
While Malawi’s chance of reclaiming sixth place is not guaranteed, Coach Whyte Mulilima told Australia media that even having such a remote chance was a source of pride.
“It’s a pride to Malawi and every Malawian would be so happy to hear we have qualified and got a medal. The sky is the limit. Let us just wait and see,” Mulilima told www.abc.net.au
Mulilima told the Australian news organisation that some help from above was the only explanation for Scotland missing a string of shots at the death in yesterday’s game.
“After winning that difficult game against New Zealand, everybody else wanted to come flat out for us and we know they will come hard on us. I almost died. They missed three chances— three shots. No. That meant God was with us,” he is quoted as saying.
Now Malawi face a litmus test from seventh-ranked Uganda’s She-Cranes who are determined to displace the Queens in the Games’ pecking order.
In another game played yesterday, Uganda defeated Wales 76-39 to open a 30 basket goal-difference over the Queens and keep alive their top-six dream.
It means Uganda have scored 247 baskets and conceded 193. The She-Cranes have a goal-difference of 54 baskets, above Malawi’s 24. The Queens have scored 232 goals and let in 208.
Uganda and Malawi will conclude their assignments today when dating Scotland and Wales, respectively.
The team with the most points will proceed to the play-offs whereas others will battle in classification matches.
Malawi and Uganda will likely finish with six points each and the team with a better goal-difference will progress.
During the game against Scotland, there was reportedly some questionable officiation by the umpires.
Malawi lived dangerously and their porous defence made matters worse.
Mulilima stuck to the starting lineup that stunned world number two, New Zealand, on Sunday.
Mwawi Kumwenda started in attack alongside Jane Chimaliro whereas Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera and Takodwa Lwazi were entrusted with the supply lines.
In defence, Mulilima featured Joanna Kachilika, Loreen Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda.
Malawi trailed the first quarter 12-13 before introducing Thandie Galeta for Kumwenda-Chalera as Lwazi moved to wing-attack.
The move allowed Malawi to the lead 28-23 at half-time.
At the start of third-quarter, Malawi rested Ngwira for Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and the move backfired as Scotland cut Malawi’s lead just to three baskets.
The third quarter ended 39-36 in favour of Malawi.
In the last quarter, Mulilima substituted Mtukule-Ngwira and Ngwira made her way back to the defence.
The Queens are in third place, behind England and New Zealand