African netball champions, Malawi Queens have shrugged off rivals South Africa’s Proteas to remain the continent’s number one and fifth in the world in the latest July rankings.
The International Federation of Netball Associations (Ifna) released the rankings on July 24 2012 on its website reflecting the recent Africa Championship which the Queens retained in Tanzania and other test matches across the world played until July 21.
The Queens are only bettered in the world by fourth-placed England, Jamaica lying third, second-rated New Zealand and world’s number one Australia. There are 32-ranked teams with Israel as the tail-enders.
Jamaica replaced England as world number three.
In the world’s top 10, there are only Malawi and South Africa from Africa. The next African team being Botswana ranked (16), Tanzania (18) while Zimbabwe and Namibia are 22nd and 25th respectively.
South Africa are still sixth despite recently thrashing Northern Ireland 3-0 and having embarked on a campaign to raise their rankings and were buoyed by their recent win against Jamaica in their 2-1 loss to the Caribbean nation.
Reacting to the updates on the rankings, Queens assistant coach Sam Kanyenda on Wednesday said unless the netball authorities devised a strategy for the team to break into the top four, Malawi’s dominance will remain continental.
“People keep on saying we have overstayed on position five, but building on this cannot by accident. We are barely surviving on position five. Instead of waiting for invitations, we must go out with a specific goal to play opponents,” Kanyenda explained on the sidelines of the Queens’ camp training.
The Queens are training at Blantyre Youth Centre ahead of an invitational tournament in South Africa from August 15 2012.
The latest rankings have seen an upsurge of teams from 25 to 32. Teams on standby for the rankings are Bermuda, Chinese (Taipei), Grenada, Hong Kong, Swaziland, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Thailand, Uganda and Zambia, which could join the ranking once they play eight games within the year.