Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa is confident that his team will “do wonders” when they take to the court at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023 next month.
The She Cranes will be without hugely experienced captain Peace Proscovia, who was the top scorer in the UK’s Vitality Netball Super League before being ruled out for the rest of the season for medical reasons.
But Mugerwa is still positive that his squad has what it takes to spring a few surprises at the tournament.
That’s exactly what they did at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, defeating South Africa in the playoff for fifth place, and they’d like nothing more than to upset the more fancied teams again in Cape Town.
Speaking from their training base in Kampala, Mugerwa said: “I’m confident in the team I have right now, even though most of the players that are in this squad are basically new with only a few players who played in the last World Cup.
“I have confidence in them that these girls are going to do wonders because as you know very well, Uganda has the talent and we expect that these ones that we have selected this time are going to play exactly the same way as the other players would have played. I’m confident that my players will perform.”
The coach added that recently acquiring better training facilities has made all the difference.
“After getting a better playing court, I think our training is now up to date and the girls are pushing on very hard and we expect their performance to be very good,” he said.
Uganda is one of the four African teams along with South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe, looking to make a statement at the first Netball World Cup to be held on the continent.
The She Cranes have played in three previous editions of the tournament so far, the first dating back to 1979, with a best finish of seventh place in 2019.
“This Netball World Cup will give many Africans – those who love netball but who have been deprived of transport to go and watch those World Cups wherever they have been – an opportunity because South Africa is not too far and maybe not too expensive for them to try
and travel to that area and watch their teams play,” said Mugerwa.
As for what they can expect when they watch Uganda in action, the veteran coach added: “People normally say that as Uganda we play a different type of netball.
“Yes, the Ugandan way of playing is unique in that for us as we play, there’s no particular pattern that we normally follow.
“We make our players become physically fit so that the player can move wherever she wants at a particular given time… We play as a team, so it’s a collective effort that we normally put in and that is why people think that our game is so different, but it’s just that we play a collective game – that whoever has the ball has to be assisted by whoever is the nearest.”
Uganda will begin their campaign with a first group game against Singapore on 28 July followed by matches against defending champions New Zealand on 29 July and Trinidad and Tobago on 30 July.
Details on tickets and travel packages and more information are all available on the official tournament website (www.nwc2023.org.za) with a range of tickets and packages still available.
Photo courtesy Reg Caldecott