United Kingdom-based Queens shooter Joyce Mvula is one of the players to watch at the Vitality Netball World Cup which throws off Friday in Liverpool, UK.
The Manchester United Thunder shooter, who won the English Super League Fans’ Player of the Season Award, is among 17 out of 129 players International Netball Federations (INF) analysts feel they will make a difference at the netball’s biggest event.
“For the past three years, she’s been plying her trade for Manchester Thunder, picking up a swag of awards along the way. With an appetite for hard work, fans have gradually seen her evolve until she’s one of the premier players in the English Super League,” reads Mvula’s profile from INF posted on Netball Scoop.
With Australia-based star Mwawi Kumwenda still recovering from a long-term knee injury, the analysts tip Mvula to be at the pinacle of Malawi Queens’ hopes and dreams of reclaiming lost glory.
Other players making the list are Sarah Klau (Australia), Latonia Blackman (Barbados), Fran Williams (England), Laisani Waqa (Fiji), Shanice Beckford (Jamaica), Casey Kopua (New Zealand), Caroline O’Hanlon (Northern Ireland), Gerardine Nafanua Solia-Gibb (Samoa), Claire Maxwell (Scotland), Shawallah Rashid (Singapore), Shadine van der Merwe (South Africa), Tharjini Sivalingam (Sri Lanka), Kalifa McCollins (Trinidad and Tobago), Racheal Nanyonga (Uganda) and Adelaide Muskwe (Zimbabwe).
“They aren’t necessarily the most capped, but there’s something about their stories that inspired us,” a statement from INF posted on Netball Scoop reads.
The Queens will face off with New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament on Friday after fine-tuning for the big show in Wales, before heading to Liverpool.
The Queens lost 44-57 to third-ranked England’s Roses in an practice match.
They also lost 47-52 to 12th-ranked Wales in their first tests series match but recovered in their second and third, beating Northern Ireland 53-37 narrowly beating Trinidad and Tobago 52-53.
Meanwhile, coach Grifin Saenda says the team’s two wins in the test series is a big boost for the teams ahead of the Netball World Cup.
“As you are ware we only camped for a week and we never played strength testing matches. These games have therefore, helped a lot in our preparations in terms of players’ assessment,” he said.
But former Queens player Emmie Waya-Chongwe said the Queens’ latest single-basket victory against lower-ranked Trinidad and Tobago is still a cause for worry about their readiness for the global showpiece.
She said: “Of course, I would say we have done well at the series considering that we played without our top shooters Australia-based Mwawi [Kumwenda] and England-based Joyce [Mvula].
“However, a narrow win over 10th-ranked Trinidad and Tobago and a recent loss [47-53] to 12th-ranked Wales show that we still need to pull up our socks or we will get a heavy defeat when we start our World Netball Cup games this Friday.”