2022 Commonwealth Games Preview: Malawi
THE 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England are just around the corner. To celebrate, we are previewing each of the competing netball nations and predicting how they might fare in the tournament.
Today it is Malawi, who came seventh in the most recent Commonwealth Games, and sixth in the 2019 Netball World Cup.
Malawi is an interesting team to watch ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, having ultimately been drawn into a group where there is only two of the ‘Big Five’, which means one upset is all that is required to advance through to the semi-finals. Taking on reigning champions England up first will be the ultimate test, especially on the Roses home court, but the Queens will love been tested from the get-go.
The African nation should also test New Zealand, with the Silver Ferns going through a rebuild of a sort, having plenty of fresh faces in the lineup that might provide some uncertainty and unpredictability. Though by the third game the Silver Ferns should have it down pat, expect the Queens to be no easy pushovers. Across the other three games, Malawi should take care of both Northern Ireland and Trinidad & Tobago, but Uganda will be the fascinating one.
Both sides have incredible shooters, but the Queens will be without Mwai Kumwenda for the series, which will hurt given the Melbourne Vixens shooter’s success at international tournaments in the past. Instead, it will fall to powerful shooter Joyce Mvula who will be the key target under the post to produce high-volume scores each game. Up the other end, Towera Vinkhumbo has developed into a worldclass defender over the past few years, and will be a crucial cog in the Queens’ arsenal.
Though those two are the ones stepping up in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL), the Queens do have some impressive underrated players to watch. Takondwa Lwazi did a superb job in wing attack at the Netball World Cup, while sharing the midcourt with Thandie Galleta. Sharing the load with Mvula in Kumwenda’s absence is Jane Chimaliro, while Mwai’s younger sister Bridget Kumwenda has also made the team yet again.
Expect Malawi to come away with a minimum of two wins, potentially three, and if they can have a bit of luck against the Silver Ferns, anything is possible. The Queens were able to knock off the Silver Ferns at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, if they can create another upset, then it is not out of the realms of possibility to make the semi-finals.
Joyce Mvula, Tedai Masamba, Maggie Sikwese, Jane Chimaliro, Sindi Simtowe, Jesca Mazengera, Takondaw Lwazi, Thandi Galleta, Bridget Kumwenda, Shilla Dimba, Martha Dambo, Carlo Mtukule, Towera Vinkhumbo, Mada Mkandawire, Laureen Ngwira and Beauty Basiao.
Saturday, July 30 – England
Sunday, July 31 – Northern Ireland
Monday, August 1 – New Zealand
Wednesday, August 3 – Trinidad & Tobago
Thursday, August 4 – Uganda