It was a triumphant morning for the African teams at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Wednesday as Uganda claimed a comfortable victory over Wales and Zimbabwe got the better of Singapore.
UGANDA 73-56 WALES
Uganda delivered yet another commanding performance at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they defeated Wales 73-56 in a Pool G encounter.
The day began with news from the She Cranes camp that Norah Lunkuse and Christine Namulumba had been replaced by Viola Asingo (injury) and Sarah Nakiyunga (medical reasons). During the match several on-court changes were also made as a result of players feeling dizzy. After the match Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa suggested it was as a result of malaria.
Goal shooter Mary Cholhok was once again a pillar of strength for Uganda, playing the first three quarters and converting 42 of her 44 shots. Her play has greatly improved since participating in the Super League in the UK. She commanded the circle with nifty footwork and accurate shooting.
Both teams came out with the same seven in the second quarter. Despite being not entirely satisfied with his side’s defensive effort, Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa kept faith in Stella Nanfuka and Christine Nakitto as their work in the Wales circle kept them in the lead.
Uganda made their first change just before halftime when Lilian Achola replaced Margret Baagala (suspected malaria) at centre. At 1.58 cm Achola is the shortest player at the World Cup. The She Cranes had a nine-goal lead (36-27) when the hooter sounded after the first two quarters.
Wales switched Ella Powell-Davies to goal defence and introduced Christina Shaw on goalkeeper in the third quarter in an effort to stem the flow of quality ball to Cholhok. It didn’t seem to bother the She Cranes star too much though as she continued with the business at hand – keeping her team in front.
At the other end of the court, Uganda defenders Nakitto and Falidah Kadondi, who replaced Nanfuka, didn’t give the Welsh shooters any breathing space. They restricted their movement and kept scoring opportunities to a minimum.
Having done enough to help her team to a healthy lead, Cholhok remained on the Uganda bench at the start of the last 15 minutes with Viola Asingo replacing her under the post. Baagala also came back at centre.
The teams shared the spoils in the third quarter (15-all) but that didn’t prevent Uganda from scoring their first victory over Wales in a World Cup.
Speaking after the match, a satisfied Uganda coach, Fred Mugerwa, said: “It’s good because that’s what we wanted. We didn’t want to lose a game to Wales because, first of all, it would spoil our ranking. We just wanted to have that game so we remain where we are.”
On Baagala who is suffering from a suspected case of malaria, Mugerwa added: “We hope that by tomorrow she will be fully recovered. That was the main reason we substituted her because she was dizzy because of the medicine she is taking, but I think by tomorrow she will have recovered to be able to continue playing properly.”
Wales goal attack Phillipa Yarranton said it was a tough match.
“Any ball we lost today, they converted straight away and we also needed to slow things down. Personally, I had a few errors and I can’t afford to miss that many shots in a game. It’s back to the drawing board and focusing on the next game. There’s not a lot of time before tomorrow’s match against Trinidad and Tobago, so it will be an early night.”
Q2: 36-27 (21-15)
Q3: 58-41 (22-14)
Q4: 73 -56 (15-15)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Shaffie Nalwanja (Uganda)
ZIMBABWE 68-40 SINGAPORE
Zimbabwe scored their second victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 when they beat Singapore 68-40 in a Pool E match in Cape Town on Wednesday. They will now play for 13th /14th position while Singapore will play in the match for 15th /16th.
The result is evidence of Zimbabwe’s superior position on the world rankings, 13th compared
to their opponents’ 28 th. The World Cup in Cape Town is the Gems’ second while Singapore have participated in 11, also playing host in 1983 and 2011.
In the first quarter, the Gems established a strong lead of 15 goals, controlling the mid-court with skilled passes and speed. Shooters Nalani Makunde and Nicole Muzanenamo were on target, missing only one attempt. The African team comfortably maintained their lead, ending the first half with a score of 38-19.
During the third quarter, Zimbabwe faced a rejuvenated Singapore team that played with increased energy. Defenders Jamie Lim and Reena Manogaran produced commendable performances, deflecting shots and making successful pickups, though other aspects of the team’s effort were lacking.
In the final quarter, Zimbabwe regained momentum, led by goalkeeper Elizabeth Mushore, who was named the Most Valuable Player. Her strong presence in the circle posed challenges for the Singapore shooters due to her height advantage.
Zimbabwe entered the World Cup with high expectations after finishing eighth at the 2019 tournament but have fallen short of a top-10 finish in Cape Town.
Q2: 38-19 (19-3)
Q3: 54-34 (16-15)
Q4: 68-40 (14-6)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Elizabeth Mushore (Zimbabwe)