Malawi Queens beat Zambia 60-34 to setup a clash with South Africa in final
The Malawi Queens Thursday produced a dominant performance to thrash Zambia 60-34 at the Ugu Sports Centre in Margate, South Africa and to set up a captivating final of the Diamond Netball Challenge against continental rivals South Africa Friday evening.
Smarting from a confidence-draining 33-43 defeat against South Africa in the group stages on Wednesday, the Queens knew they had to beat their neighbours to book a place in the final since Malawi had an inferior goal difference against closest challengers Uganda.
The Queens started on top, playing their trademark quick passing game and went 4-1 up early on.
The two sides showed similarities in terms of tactical approach and they were both quick on the attacks with swift, short passes.
However, the Malawi Queens had the upper hand, and with Sindie Simtowe recapturing her top form at a critical period, the Queens won the first quarter 15-8.
Sindie Simtowe deservedly won the player-of-the-match accolade.
Zambia came stronger in the second half with goal shooter Lucy Jere proving a menace to the Malawi defence led by captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo.
Zambia cut down Malawi’s lead to five baskets but the Malawi Queens restored control of the match with Takondwa Lwazi and Thandi Galeta helping the side weather the storm.
The Queens led 27-18 at halftime.
Queens’ coach, Peace Chawinga- Kalua introduced Grace Mwafulirwa for Joanna Kachilika in defence at the start of the third quarter and it was no longer a contest as the Queens’ soared to a 46-24 lead at the end of the quarter.