Malawi national netball team the Queen on Wednesday evening went down to South Africa 43-33 in the KwaZulu-Natal Netball Diamond Challenge at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate.
The hosts were generally much taller than the Queens that they made good use of their height advantage, particularly in our circle.
The Queens goal defender Caroline Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo in goal were outstanding, achieving numerous intercepts and turnovers in the first quarter.
However, the match was fast and physical. South Africa maintained a good level of scoring throughout the match, as the Queens struggled to match their heights.
They were 9-13 ahead after the first quarter, and led 22-16 at halftime, with the second quarter being Malawi’s worst, with only nine goals.
The Queens stepped up the pace in the last quarter, but the players looked tired and worn out.
In this quarter, the Queens saw their reliable shooter Joyce Mvula off the court yard due to an injury. She was replaced with Complex Tigresses versatile Ellen Chibokho.
The absence of New Zealand based Mwayi Kumwenda was felt, as Mvula was too worstful in the third and last quarter.
Queens coach Peace Kaluwa said that she was quite pleased with the performance, although there was much to be done as far as her shooters are concerned.
She said her shooters were jittery when scoring but assured the nation that they will rectify the problem before their next match (Thursday against Zambia).
She said they need to work smarter, and use short and sharp passes in their next game.
On Tuesday, the Queens, who are one above South Africa in the world rankings, showed their strength with a decisive 51-40 win over Uganda.
However, it did not go all the Malawi Queens’ way. The Uganda She Cranes, led by their dynamic captain and goal shooter Peace Proscovia, were just one goal behind Malawi after the first quarter, which ended 15-14 in Malawi’s favour, and outscored Malawi in the third quarter by 12 goals to 10.