2023 Netball World Cup review: Uganda

UGANDA was one of the stories of the Netball World Cup, finishing sixth overall and not being blown away by any nation. Even when coming up against the likes of Jamaica, New Zealand and South Africa, Uganda held its own to qualify sixth initially in the playoffs.

The best was yet to come for the She Cranes, who rolled past both African rivals Malawi and South Africa – the latter of whom had beaten them just days earlier – to collect fifth spot and sit just outside the dominant four nations in the world.


Group D: 2nd (2-1, +72 goal difference)

defeated Singapore by 42 goals (79-37)
lost to New Zealand by 10 goals (44-54)
defeated Trinidad & Tobago by 40 goals (74-34)

Group G: 4th (2-3, +33 goal difference)

lost to Jamaica by 12 goals (49-61)
defeated Wales by 17 goals (73-56)
lost to South Africa by 2 goals (50-52)

5th-8th Placed Playoff:

defeated Malawi by 11 goals (57-46)
defeated South Africa by 2 goals (49-42)


Uganda’s memorable two-goal win over South Africa was the cream on top of the sweetest cake, snatching fifth thanks to a strong third term and dedicated defensive effort. Leading by a goal at quarter time, Uganda found itself level again by the main break. Stepping up in the third term to again pull away, the She Cranes really put the foot down in the last quarter to lead by as much as five goals. South Africa roared back to cut the deficit within two goals, but could never fully bridge that gap and went down, 47-49.

Stepping up at the crucial time, Mary Cholhok shot 29 goals from 32 attempts, and pulled in four rebounds. Sharing the shooting load with the star goalshooter were Irene Eyaru (10 goals at 100 per cent, as well as seven goal assists) and Shadiah Nassanga (10 goals from 14 attempts and five goals assists). In midcourt, Margret Baagala (21 goal assists) worked well to control the game, whilst Shaffie Nalwanja and Falidah Kadondi shared in eight gains, 11 deflections and three intercepts.


Cholhok is a worldclass shooter and hard to contain. She shot 185 goals and was always a feature in the Ugandan attack. Whenever a teammate put it in her zone, she was able to pull it in and reliably put the ball to post, being once again her nation’s number one source of goals. Cholhok also had a whopping 20 rebounds in the World Cup.


Though Cholhok was the main shooter, she had plenty of support, with Nassanga scoring 123 in a handy partnership. Eyaru (44) was also busy, while Haniisha Muhameed (31) played at both ends of the court. Baagala was a phenomenal midcourter with her sheer volume of feeds into the circle, while Nalwanja had 12 intercepts and 31 deflections as a key player in that defensive third of the court.


Uganda will be thrilled with its performance across the course of the 2023 Netball World Cup. Going in as the eighth ranked side, the She Cranes leapt up to finish fifth overall, beating some quality nations en route to the result. Still not able to get past the likes of New Zealand and Jamaica, the She Cranes were competitive in both contests and had plenty to take away from those matches.

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