Queens coach Griffin Willie Ivan Saenda is causing a stir at the Fast5 Netball tournament as he is the only male coach in the female dominated tournament in New Zealand.
All the other teams are coached by female coaches; South Africa, the Proteas, are coached by Carin Strauss, Jamaica, the Sunshine Girls, have Connie Francis as coach. Norma Plummer is leading Australia, England have Anna Mayez while the hosts New Zealand are coached by Robyn Broughton.
Malawi also holds a record of having more males in its technical panel than any other team at the competition. The technical panel has Sam Kanyenda as assistant coach, team doctor is Vincent Senzana and the only female member is team manager Abigail Shareef.
Flamboyant Saenda, who is also known as 'Zagallo' in netball circles in reference to former Brazil football coach, has already been featured in a number of New Zealand newspapers on his exploits with the Queens.
Malawi has never made it into the top four but this time Saenda has said he is ready to upset the tables at the tournament.
"We have what it takes to make it into the top four," he said. "That is what we are targeting right now." Saenda said although
Fast5 uses relatively new rules, the Queens were ready for the action. The number one ranked team in Africa will start their campaign today with a clash against world champions Australia before dating Jamaica later on in the evening.
The following day will see Queens playing three games against New Zealand, continental rivals South Africa and England.
The Queens lost 43-37 baskets to Australia on Tuesday, before losing to 24-46 to Australia on Wednesday in test matches ahead of the opening of the tournament today. The games were played in camera.
The Queens squad includes Mwawi Kumwenda, Sindie Simtowe, Bridget Kumwenda, Beatrice Kadango, Thandi Galeta, Tina Kamzati, Laurene Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo, Carol Ngwira and Joana Kachilika.