There will be a third installment of Malawi Queens’ and South Africa’s Spar Proteas’ rivalry at the Confederation of Southern African Netball Associations (Cosana) tournament in Swaziland.
The Queens, who squared up with the South Africans a fortnight ago at Diamond Netball Challenge in Pretoria, meet the Proteas again between September 9-18.
To also be played on round-robin format, there is likelihood of Malawi and South Africa meeting twice to determine the overall Cosana champion, according to the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda.
“There was uncertainty on the Cosana championship as Swaziland had not confirmed only to be communicated a few days ago that the tournament is on. [Malawi] Government has supported our K12 million ($48 000) budget for the trip. The squad should start camp training on Wednesday (today) in Blantyre,” said Chinunda.
At the 2010 Cosana event held in South Africa, Malawi lost to the Proetas in the preliminary round only to beat them in the last meeting. Now, the battle lines have been drawn again, warned Chinunda.
“In the Diamond Challenge, South Africa had the benefit of their umpires and since they invited us, we could not argue. We expect fair officiating at Cosana. If we are to defend the Cosana title, we have to defeat South Africa,” she said.
Twelve Malawi players are expected to make the Swaziland trip with Escom Sisters’ Enelesi Mdezo and Civonets goal attacker-cum-defender Beauty Chirwa set to earn call-up.
Coach Griffin Saenda declared war on South Africa on Tuesday as he prepared to put final touches on his squad for camp training.
“I have not dropped any player from the squad that travelled to South Africa. I am rebuilding and I have not reached the ultimate goal. It is good we are meeting South Africa. Let us see who will have the last laugh in our third meeting,” said Saenda.
One of the Queens senior players Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira said she was aware that South Africa could be their stumbling block in Swaziland, but she was confident the coaches would rectify mistakes spotted at the recent event in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Queens received R80 000 (K2.8 million) for being Diamond Challenge runners-up, Chinunda confirmed. So far, NAM has said there is no other recognition for the feat achieved in South Africa. South Africa won the trophy to earn R100 000 (K3.6 million).