Malawi Queens arrives in Australia …face Diamonds on Wednesday

Malawi Queens arrived in Australia on Monday and will play their first test match against Diamonds at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Wednesday.

The Queens leave Blantyre for Lilongwe on Thursday flew to South Africa before connecting to Australia.

They play Australia’s Silver Ferns in Test Series before proceeding to Auckland, New Zealand for Fast5 Series then to Fiji for more test matches.

Also in Australia are the New Zealand Silver Ferns who face the hosts in Constellation Cup test matches before the Fast5 tournament kicks off.

“Wollongong will become the tenth Australian international Test city and the occasion will be marked by the Malawi Queen’s first ever Test match against the Diamonds on Australia soil – the first of a two-Test series against the world’s fifth ranked nation,” Diamonds’ website reported.

The series against Malawi will be the Diamonds final international Tests on home soil before the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“If you haven’t experienced international netball before, this is your chance to catch some of the world’s greatest players in action with Malawi’s unorthodox style and flare making them one of international netball’s most exciting teams,” Netball Australia announced on Monday.

“This is ‘must see’ netball – fast, furious and physical. All is set as Malawi Queens fired up with Airtel Money sponsorship, fly to Australia on Friday for a series of test matches against the hosts ahead of Fastnet championship in New Zealand.”

The squad in Australia includes captain Caroline Mtukule with Joanna Kachilika as his deputy. Other players in the squad include Towera Vinkhumbo, Jessie Mazengera, Tina Kamzati, Takondwa Lwazi, BridgetKumwenda, Martha Dambo, Joyce Mvula, Jane Chimaliro.

Mwawi Kumwenda joined the squad in Australia over the weekend.

Head coach Griffin Saenda dropped five out of 18 players and also missing from the squad  is shooter Sindie Simtowe, defender Grace Mwafulirwa and centre court Beatrice Mpinganjira all from Tigresses.
But before leaving for Australia the Queens attended the unveiling ceremony of Airtelmoney sponsorship in Lilongwe.

Airtel Malawi has pumped in K360 million sponsorship for Malawi netball which will stretch for a period of three years.

The mobile phone operators announced the good news in Lilongwe last month.

The sponsorship, which translates to K120 million per year, surpasses government annual funding which is at about K40 million.

It also surpasses governments annual sponsorship for football which is at K60 million.

The sponsorship is a big boost for Malawi netball which has time and again complained of poor funding.

Despite being the only sporting discipline that brings smiles on Malawians, netball has suffered from lack of funding both from government and the corporate world.

Airtel Money Country Director Andrew Santhe said it was sad that netball, the only sport that puts Malawi on the map, fails to participate in international competitions due to lack of funds yet its CV is filled with accolades and international recognition on the world stage.

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