LILONGWE--Queens, Malawi's national netball team, beat hosts South Africa 47-42 Friday in the ongoing Diamond Challenge, proving to Africa why they are the contingent’s highest ranked team.
Playing in their backyard, South Africa, Malawi’s biggest rival, went into the match with a big advantage.
Both teams started well and it wasn't long before they were tied 5-5. But slowly the Queens started to dominate and they would soon open a five point lead to make it 10-5.
South Africa did crawl back into the game to reduce the deficit to two points through their veteran shooter Chrisna Bootha, 10-8. However, Queen’s shooters Mwayi Kumwenda and Sindi Simutowe bagged a basket each before Bootha netted two baskets to keep the Queens in check. The first quarter ended 12-10.
In the second quarter, the Proteas had an impressive start scoring three unanswered baskets, but it didn’t take long before the Queens gained their foothold in the game. Simutowe, bagging the most baskets with her sharp shooting, ended the second quarter 24-21.
In the third quarter, the Proteas started looking tired failed to match the Queens’s splendid passing and composure, and the Queens took advantage to open a 10 point gap, before the Proteas reduced it to 8 points going into the final quarter: 38-30.
In the final quarter South Africa was a much improved side and opened a five point lead but Malawi would still manage to reduce it to 2 points. The Proteas efforts were dealt with a huge blow in the final minutes of the game as they had to take off their veteran shooter Chrisna Bootha and their influential wing attacker Bongiwe Msomi due to injuries. The game ended 47-42 in favour of the Queens.
Sindi Simutowe who had a solid performance scoring 25 baskets was voted Diamond Challenge player of the match and was given R1, 000.
Simutowe was confident that the Queens will finish the job they started.
“We had a very good game tonight, we played well and tomorrow will win again,” she said.
Two other matches tomorrow will be between Botswana and Zambia. Botwana beat Zambia 59 to 41. Zambia haven't won any game so far.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.