International Netball Federation (Ifna) has introduced a complex format for the Netball World Cup to be held from July 12-21 2019 in Liverpool, England.
This is in contrast with the 2015 tournament format which had three stages.
In the new format, teams have to be at their best as they battle out in four round robin stages.
The first preliminary stage will be played from July 12-14 while the second will be played from July 15-18, according to a statement released by Ifna yesterday.
In the new format, Ifna has also introduced play-offs and placings to be played from July 19-21.
“Teams will compete in four round-robin groups [A, B, C and D] which each consist of four teams. The top eight teams are pre-assigned to groups, with one team from the 9th-12th seeds and one from the 13th-16th seeds drawn randomly into each group. A regional override will be applied to prevent more than two teams from one region being drawn into the same preliminary group,” reads a statement from Ifna.
The top three teams in each group will then progress to the second preliminary stage where the top three teams from groups A and B will form group F, and the top three teams from groups C and D will form group G.
The bottom four finishers from groups A-D will compete for 13th-16th places in group E.
“The teams finishing first and second in groups F and G will go through to the semi-finals, with the top placed team in each group facing the second-placed team in the other group. The winners of each semi-final will compete for gold in the final, with the losers playing for bronze.
“The teams finishing third and fourth in groups F and G will compete for final positions fifth to eighth. The third in one group plays fourth in the other with the winners battling it out for fifth place and the losers for seventh.
“The teams that finish fifth in groups F and G will play-off for ninth and 10th places. The teams that finish last in groups F and G will play off for 11th and 12th places,” the statement reads further.
Queens coach Griffin Saenda yesterday said the new format would be tough for teams.
“Since there will be four stages, then it means more games will be played. This calls for thorough preparations,” said Saenda who is currently drilling he Queens for the Commonwealth Games.
In contrast, in the 2015 tournament format, 16 participating teams were divided into four pools (A, B, C and D).
During the preliminary pool stage, teams in each pool played each other once.
Then qualification round consisted of two pools E and F, formed by two teams with the highest number of points in each of the preliminary matches.
Two pools G and H were formed from the bottom two teams in each of the preliminary pools. Then two teams in each pool played each other once with the two teams with the highest number of points advancing to the semi-finals.
The winners of the semi-finals contested the final, while the losers played for the bronze medal.
Malawi finished on position six after losing to South Africa in the position five play-offs.