Pretoria, South Africa - The Malawi Queens won their second match on the trot, beating Botswana 63-29 in the Netball Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Thursday.
The Malawians were given a tough time in the first quarter and although they held the lead in goals, at 12-8, Botswana dominated possession. The second quarter started in a similar fashion but Botswana started to make a string of unforced errors and they seemed to unravel as the clocked ticked down. Malawi, meanwhile, began to settle into a familiar pattern and went into the half-time break outscoring their opponents by 15 goals, leading 31-14. Botswana’s defence was in trouble and made worse when they moved their goal defence Kelebogile Mangole to centre. Malawi saw the gap and closed out the third segment with an unassailable 29 goal lead. Botswana dominated with the ball in hand towards the end but the damage had been done.
Thumisang Bagidi, the youngest member of Botswana’s team at 19, had an outstanding game while their goal shooter, Tebogo Radipotsane seemed to be hampered by heavy strapping on her knees, which limited her movement on the court. The Tsogo Sun Player of the match was Malawi’s goal attack Sindi Simtowe while goal shooter Mwayi Kumwenda had another outstanding game. Kumwenda, who plays professional netball in Australia, used her height and reach to her advantage and was exceptional in receiving the long ball. Her 83 percent accuracy in the match is the highest of the tournament so far.
Malawi’s coach Griffin Saenda said his team were improving with each performance as he was using the tournament to rebuild his team. “You haven’t seen the best of us yet,” Saenda said. “We are getting better every time we play so tomorrow, against South Africa, you can expect a very high performance. “We have some under-21’s in the team and for some of them, it’s their first tournament.” Saenda said Kumwenda had a strong influence on the team and raised the level of their game. “She has added depth to her own game as well as to our whole team.”
Botswana’s coach Motlhokwa Motsumi was disappointed but said she was expecting a tough encounter against the top team in Africa. “We came here knowing it was going to be difficult but still, we gave our best,” she said.