After all has been said and done, Malawi Queens finally launch the Fast5 World Netball Series with the attention on how the team will cope with the absence of top shooter Mwawi Kumwenda.
Malawi take on hosts and last year’s runners-up Australia in the opening match of the tournament at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Australia, before facing England and Jamaica later on.
The Queens last beat the Diamonds in 2012 Fast5.
Though coach Mary Waya wore a brave face when leaving for Australia, promising to at least maintain last year’s bronze, the absence of Mwawi is expected to be felt strongly.
Ironically, her team mate at Merbounre Vixens, Kate Moloney will captain the Diamonds.
She has since warned the Queens to brace for a tough ride.
“Our eyes are on the prize, we’d love to take out the title in front of the home crowd,” she told http://netball.com.au.
Diamonds head coach Stacey Marinkovich also warns that they will not allow the Queens to derail their plan to win on home soil.
She said: “We have been planning and preparing to give us the best opportunity to make sure the trophy doesn’t go anywhere.”
But Queens captain Joana Kachilika said all is possible with team work.
She said: “It’s all about teamwork, fighting spirit and hard work, and above all else a change of mindset from participating to competing.”
The Queens second match against England and later Jamaica evokes memories of the 2016 edition.
Malawi beat both teams on the way to the bronze medal and they cannot afford to lose to them.
However, both sides have improved with time and cannot be underrated.
Tomorrow the Queens face rivals South Africa and New Zealand.