The Malawi Queens will take part in a four-nations Taini Jamison Trophy tournament in New Zealand next month as part of their preparations for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games slated for April.
Hosts New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls and Fiji’s Pearls are the other teams that will take part in the tournament slated for March 21-24 at North Shore Events Centre in Auckland.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya said the tournament will help the Queens tune up for the Commonwealth Games.
“It will be a timely boost as the tournament will be staged just two weeks before the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
Last month, the NAM president said the Queens would kick-start their preparations for the Commonwealth Games next month.
Queens coach Griffin ‘Zagallo’ Saenda could not be reached for comment yesterday but Australia-based goal shooter Mwawi Kumwenda said the tournament will further boost their preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
“All the teams have intensified their preparations and the invitation could not have come at a better time.
“It is encouraging that the coaches will have a chance to gauge our strengths and weaknesses and polish up on our weak areas before we head to Australia,” she said.
The shooter also said she is ready and willing to join the Queens for the tournament.
“My team Melbourne Vixens is ready to release me for national duty and it will be good if I can train with the team for sometime so that we get to know each other well and master the coaches’ formations and game plans,” said Mwawi.
She further said there have been times when Queens have struggled at international tournaments due to poor preparations.
According to www.mynetball.co.nz, the Queens will face the hosts in their opening match on March 21 while Jamaica will face Fiji.
The Queens’ second match will be against Fiji the following day before taking on Jamaica on March 23.
On the final day, the third-placed team in preliminary rounds will face the fourth-placed team to determine the number three team while the first-placed side will take on the number two team in the final match.
The Taini Jamison Trophy was created by Netball New Zealand in 2008 for competition between the Silver Ferns and touring international teams other than Australia.
Four of the teams that will take part at the Commonwealth Games—Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa—also competed in the 2018 Quad Series whose finals were played on Sunday in Johannesburg, South Africa, where world champions Australia beat New Zealand to retain the trophy. n