Hope for Malawi Queens?

Malawi national netball team’s seventh-place finish at the just-ended Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast City, Australia, does not necessarily mean an automatic drop in the world rankings, a netball analyst has said.

There were fears that the Queens could lose their automatic qualification slots for major netball tournaments after their bitter-sweet campaign at the tournament.

However, Malawi’s stunning 57-53 victory over New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, who are one of the world’s top netball teams, could make a big difference.

Analyst Chimwemwe Nyirenda said the Queens will not lose their position six on the world rankings any time soon despite the seventh place finish.

“This may surprise some people but, actually, the Queens have gained more points at the 2018 Commonwealth Games than their immediate rivals South Africa and Uganda. They have even reduced the gap with South Africa since the Proteas did not win any match against any team above them,” Nyirenda said.

He said the Queens’ will benefit immensely from their win against New Zealand while also enjoying another favour from South Africa’s win over Uganda.

“The Malawi Queens [on position six] collected more points because they beat the world’s number two team which gave Malawi three times more points than what Uganda gained from Malawi since Uganda (on position seven) is just next to Malawi. Uganda could have gained more points if they had beaten South Africa’s Proteas who are two places above them,” he stated.

Nyirenda said the number of points earned by a team for any match depends on two factors.

“The higher an opponent’s rating, the more points are earned for beating them. If a team wins a match, they will earn 50 points more than their opponent’s rating. But if they lose, they will earn 50 points less than their opponent,” he said.

Meanwhile, revered coach, Griffin Saenda Senior, who withdrew from the team following doctors’ advice, said there was need for a stakeholders meeting to resolve issues haunting the side.

“It is too early for me to comment in detail because I have not interacted with members of the team and the coaching panel. But, if we managed to defeat New Zealand, it shows that we have the potential to rise on the world rankings. We only need to strategise family,” Saenda said

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