2023 Netball World Cup review: Malawi

MALAWI secured seventh spot at the 2023 Netball World Cup after overcoming Tonga in the playoff match. The Queens only went down to England and Australia in the group stages, but falling to Uganda in the playoffs meant they gave up their second African nation spot at the tournament.

Though never completely out of games, Malawi was not able to quite match it with the eventual finalists, but did knock off Tonga twice, as well as Fiji. The Queens had a scare in the opening match of the tournament, only just scraping past Scotland by six goals, but it was enough to ensure they finished second in Group B with a comfortable victory over Barbados.


Group B: 2nd (2-1, +19 goal difference)

defeated Scotland by 6 goals (55-49)
lost to England by 23 goals (39-62)
defeated Barbados by 36 goals (84-48)

Group F: 3rd (3-2, -22 goal difference)

defeated Fiji by 14 goals (62-48)
lost to Australia by 24 goals (46-70)
defeated Tonga by 5 goals (56-51)

5th-8th Placed Playoff:

lost to Uganda by 11 goals (46-57)
defeated Tonga by 10 goals (64-54)


The relieving 10-goal win over Tonga in the playoffs was key for the Queens to grab seventh spot, starting strongly and then finishing with a head of steam. Malawi lead by one and four goals at quarter and half-time respectively, before the Tala hit back with a 15-12 third term. Challenged and only up by a goal at the last change, Malawi put the foot down, scoring 19 goals to 10 and running out 64-54 winners.

Joyce Mvula (39 goals from 40 attempts and seven goal assists) and Mwai Kumwenda (25 goals from 27 attempts and 13 goal assists) certainly provided a strong one-two combination. Takondwa Lwazi enjoyed an impressive tournament and finished it off with 21 goal assists, two gains, an intercept and a deflection. In defence, Towera Vinkhumbo was rock solid with two gains, two intercepts and one deflection in the win, teaming up well with Loreen Ngwira (six gains, five rebounds, four deflections and one intercept).


There were a few standouts for the Queens, but the attacking nature of Vinkhumbo, while also providing that defensive accountability, was crucial. The talented goal defence had 22 deflections and 16 intercepts, as well as three defensive rebounds, to do plenty of key roles on opposition shooters.


Also in defence, Ngwira was able to pull in 10 defensive rebounds, while having 11 deflections and six intercepts. Lwazi was crucial in the midcourt both feeding it through to the shooters and intercepting opposition passes nine times. The shooting combination of Mvula (260 goals) and Kumwenda (174) provided the Queens with two genuine high-volume shooters.


Malawi ended up finishing around about where many expected, though the Queens would have loved to have knocked off African rivals, Uganda. Still, there was plenty to like about what they did, and their bookended players within the respective circles helped ensure Malawi was always in the contest.

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