Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – Eswatini national netball team’s chances of qualifying for the Netball World Cup were dented.

The national team suffered their first defeat in the hands of African giants in Malawi. Malawi’s Queens survived a scare from the spirited Eswatini side to win 69-50. The game was played yesterday in Pretoria. The city plays host to the African Qualifiers for next year’s world Cup. Following the setback, the Eswatini national outfit are now playing catch-up and hope to turn the tables when they face Zambia today at noon. Coach Nhlahla ‘Friction’ Mayisela’s ensemble were up for the challenge, despite their minimal exposure to international games since their  Singapore Nations Cup over three years ago, while the opposition, who are ranked sixth in the world, had an advantage and a world record from the Commonwealth Games where they beat second highest ranked team in the world, New Zealand.


Eswatini was chasing 5-0 in the first five minutes of the first quarter and with improved shot passes plus pace, gifted goal shooter (GS) Vumile Vilakati netted five goals but could not match Malawi and ended the first 15 minutes of play with a 19-11 score. Malawi took charge of the two mid-quarters, stretching their lead to 35-24 after the second quarter and dominated the third to make it 54-37. Malawi was not wasteful at goal and proved their dominance in the last quarter, scoring 11 goals, while Eswatini only managed to net five. Pressure mounted for Eswatini in the last five minutes where they were trailing by 20 goals after reaching 44 goals against Malawi’s 64. Goalkeeper (GK) Philile Khatwane changed her position to goal defender (GD) and Nomcebo Malambe filled in her shoes, while centre player Captain Abigail Simelane made way for Cebile Sibandze. Introducing Vuysile Thusi as a goal attacker (GA) was a wise move for Eswatini as they managed to add six more goals to make it 50 and finished their game 19 goals short from the Queens’ who massed a total of 69 goals.


The statistics of the game reflected that Malawi missed only two shots, netting 69 of 71 attempts and Eswatini missed eight. The goal percentage was in favour of Malawi who sat at 97 per cent and Eswatini 86. The local team completed 73 passes and ‘The Queens’ had 70. Impressed by their opening performance despite the defeat, Mayisela commended his team’s efforts, saying the girls surprised all of them. “We did not expect them to deliver such a good performance. They stuck to our plan and were effective when we made substitutions. I hope they are going to play better in our next game.”

The captain said: “Looking at our first game, we played well and managed to match Malawi’s standard, although in theory are better than us. We also managed to keep the goal difference below 20. If we maintain the same spirit in the next two games, we will win and qualify for the next stage,” she said. At the end of the pool stage, the first-placed team in each pool will play the second-placed team of the other pool, with the winners playing each other in the final. The remaining teams will play each other to determine third to ninth place. The top two teams of the tournament, excluding South Africa, will qualify for the Netball World Cup next year.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image: