The Queens have survived by the skin of their teeth on their seat as AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s number one and worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fifth best on International Federation of Netball AssociationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (Ifna) rankings released on Friday.
But the Queens, who have been inactive since reclaiming the fifth spot after defeating now sixth-ranked South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Proteas last October, are in danger of slipping out of the elite-band if they do not taste action between now and July when the chart will be revised.
More active South Africa are closing in on Malawi again; catching up with them on equal rating of 131, amassing more 1 411 points against 2 358 for Malawi. This has given them a better weighting of 33 against 18 for the Queens.
The Proteas are making strides for having played moreÃ¢â‚¬â€41 games against 23 for the Queens since 2008.
Save for revisions immediately done after a major competition, rankings are usually reshuffled every eight months, according to Ifna website www.netball.org.
The latest rankings reflect teamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ performance between November and December 11 2011, during which the Queens were unable to play due to lack of funds. Malawi was also excluded from World Top Six Netball Series in London, in November.
The Queens rely on government funding as the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has no income generating activity, let alone a strategic business plan, which the associationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s president Rosy Chinunda admitted was only in proposal form.
“We will fight hard to remain on top of the continent. Our inactivity is not about test matches being unavailable, rather it is an issue of resources. Our immediate hope for test matches rest on world number one Australia, who plan to visit Malawi for matches,” Chinunda said on Wednesday.
The Queens coach Edith Kaliati said enough has been said on the need for high-profile test matches, which could enable her charges gain more points and break into the top.
Netball administrator Fanuel Katengeza chose to paint a rosy picture, saying this year the new breed of the Queens would take on the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top four.
“We slipped to sixth only to regain it after beating South Africa at the World Championship because we did not manage our transition after letting go the veterans. But, with these youngsters gaining experience, it is all looking good,” said the Central Region Netball League chairperson.
Malawi also need to ensure that they are still fifth or better if they are to make the cut for the next World Top Six Netball Series which Ifna has awarded to New Zealand from November 9-11 2012 in Vector Arena, Auckland.
Weighting, points and rating are used to calculate the rankings. A rating is a measure of a teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s average performance in a series of matches whereas weighting is a percentage of a teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s past results. Points are gained from results of a particular game.
Australia remain the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s number one followed by New Zealand, England and Jamaica. Malawi and South Africa are the only African teams in the top 10. Botswana are AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third-best and worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 16th. They are followed by Tanzania, who are 21st in the world. There are 25 ranked teams worldwide with India at the bottom.