The Malawi national netball teamâ€™s dominance over their African rivals South Africaâ€™s Proteas was brought to a halt Saturday after going down 47- 43 in the final of the Diamond Netball Challenge Championship in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Queens, who beat South Africa 47-42 in round robin on Friday, struggled in the third and fourth quarters as the hosts came from behind to win the match.
Player of the match, shooter Christina Botha, was the hero for the hosts as she converted an impressive 40 baskets to guide the Proteas to a significant victory over tiring Malawi Queens in a competitive match.
Botha was just too good for Malawiâ€™s defending pair of Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo as she missed only five shots.
Coach Griffin Saenda substituted Vinkhumbo for Loraine Ngwira in attempt to stop towering Botha in the last quarter but it was a little too late.
Sindi Simtowe, who was at the heart of the Queensâ€™ win over Proteas on Friday, had a quite game as she only scored three basket with Mwawi Kumwenda scoring the rest.
The first quarter was so tight with Malawi giving away a seven-point margin to win the opener 12 -10 .
South Africa continued piling pressure on Malawi in the second quarter and managed to reduce the gap to just one as the scores were 23- 22 at half time.
The hostsâ€™ determination finally paid off in the third quarter as they took the lead for the first time and managed to win it with a four-point margin as it ended 36- 32.
Malawi tried to come back into the game but the Proteas jealously safeguarded their four-point lead and went on to win it 48- 44 to bring thunders of joy from the host fans that included sports minister Fikile Mbalule and actress Sophie Ndaba, who plays Queen Moroka on South Africaâ€™s soap Generations.
It was a sweet revenge for the hosts who lost to Malawi 47- 42 on Friday. The Queens also demolished Botswana 63-29 and Zambia 75- 32 on Thursday and Wednesday respectively.
Speaking to SuperSport at half time principal secretary in the ministry of Youth Development and Sports Justin Saidi said the tournament is vital to the development of netball in Africa.
â€œWe need to be playing regular and we thank South Africa netball for inviting us. It is good to be seeing our girls being beamed live on Supersport. Such initiatives will help push Africa netball on the world map so that we can break into the world top four rankings currently dominated by Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and England,â€ said Saidi.
Botswana finished third after beating Zambia 45- 36 in the match for the third place.
Malawiâ€™s line up: Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo ( Loraine Ngwira) Grace Mwafulirwa, Bridget Kumwenda,, Beatrice Mpinganjira, Sindi Simtowe and Mwawi Kumwenda.