Malawi Queens yesterday had the luxury of winning the Cosana Tri-Nations Tournament with two games to spare following convincing wins over Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The seventh-ranked Queens yesterday thrashed 22nd-ranked Namibia’s Desert Jewels 77-25 and Zimbabwe Gems 47-35 at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes) Sports Complex in Blantyre.
Regardless of the remaining matches, Zimbabwe and Namibia cannot overtake the hosts who have eight points. The visitors have two points apiece with two games to go.
The latest results followed Malawi’s 60-23 and 45-23 victories over Namibia and Zimbabwe, respectively.
They are remaining with two games against Zimbabwe today from 11am and against Namibia tomorrow from 6pm to wrap up their fixtures.
However, despite the good run, coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa says the team still needs polishing to get to the desired level ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England despite registering four-straight wins in the ongoing Cosana Tri-Nations Cup.
“Although we are winning the games, we are still not there yet. There are still some areas that need polishing,” she said.
“As coaches, we are not satisfied with our performance as we are seeing some lapses in all departments, especially coordination and attack. We can only have a complete team if we rectify the mistakes.”
However, the Queens’ legend said such would only be achieved if the Queens do not break camp after the Cosana competition.
“We are progressing very well. Our fitness levels have risen and we can see where we are in our preparedness. If we do not break camp and if we continue with the training, we will have time to rectify the problems,” Chawinga-Kaluwa said.
In their first match yesterday, the Queens had a solid start, securing a comfortable 16-5 lead by the end of the first quarter despite the coach making four changes to the starting line-up that beat Zimbabwe the previous day.
Goal-shooter Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya, goal-attacker Jessica Mazengera-Sanudi, centre Thandi Galeta and wing defender Sheila Dimba did not feel out of place as they quickly settled into the rhythm to make a formidable combination with captain and goal-defender Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, goalkeeper ToweraVinkhumbo-Nyirenda and wing-attacker Bridget Kumwenda.
It was not surprising, therefore, to see them score 23 baskets against Namibia’s four in the second quarter for the scoreline to read 39-9 at half-time.
In the third-segment, the Queens rested Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda and Kumwenda for Laureen Ngwira and Martha Dambo, respectively, and they continued to force the visitors on the back-foot. Malawi scored 19 baskets against Namibia’s eight in the segment as the Queens led 59-17 going into the final quarter.
Shooter TendaiMasamba and centre TakondwaLwazi-Mtonga were introduced in the final stanza and they did not dissapoint as the Queens secured a 52-basket victory, their biggest win at the on-going tournament so far.
In their second game, the Queens started poorly and trailed 9-8 in the first quarter.
However, the FDH Bank plc-sponsored side returned with renewed vigour in the second quarter in which they led 19-17.
It was a tense and balanced affair in the third quarter in which each side scored nine baskets . The segment ended 28-26 in Queens’ favour.
A last quarter surge proved vital for the Queens in which Tendai Masamba, who had a grand game, scored for fun and a 12-basket victory was testimony of their renewed purpose.