The Malawi Queens are out to write a new piece of their dominance when they line up today (Wednesday) against Zambia in Netball Diamond Challenge opener at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria, South Africa.
Malawiâ€™s next challengers are Botswana tomorrow (Thursday) followed by a last preliminary round meeting against the hosts, South Africaâ€™s Spar Proteas on Friday.
From the preliminaries, the number one team will face the number two in the final on Saturday. The final is the game which the Queens coach Griffin Saenda is targeting.
â€œI surely envisage meeting South Africa again in the final. I have a squad capable of beating South Africa. We have to do it again and prove that we are the best,â€ Saenda said before departure on Monday.
With a good blend of youth and experience, Saendaâ€™s girls have to prove that their African Netball Championship retention in Tanzania recently was not by default. The Proteas shunned the Tanzania competition, opting to play stronger Jamaica.
Malawi retained the African title minus Australia-based star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda of Peninsula Waves. Now back in the fold, Kumwenda is expected to give Malawi options upfront with her clinical shooting precision and physical presence. Bingu Tigressesâ€™ Sindi Simtowe will play a supporting role in attack.
Beatrice Mpinganjira Kadango should keep the centre tidy while Escom Sistersâ€™ Caroline Mtukule Ngwira and Joanna Kachilika of MTL Queens should be on guard against South Africaâ€™s attackers.
The fact that the Proteas were for the first time in many attempts able to defeat the worldâ€™s fourth ranked Jamaicans recently, say a lot about their pedigree.
At stake are world and Africa netball rankings and R250 000 prize money to be shared among the top four performers, according to Netball South Africa president Mimi Mthethwa.
â€œWe invited Malawi because they are our rivals. They always give us a good run. We need such strong opposition. Both of us benefit when we face each other. We are rivals not enemies,â€ Mthethwa told Nation Online last week.
The tournament aims to celebrate the role of women in sport and in particular elevate the profile of Netball in South Africa as the country celebrates womenâ€™s month.