International netball update: Africa Netball Cup – Days 1-3
THREE days down at the Africa Netball Cup, and some intriguing results have already played out. With nine nations playing out for the trophy in Windhoek, Namibia, top ranked South Africa, Malawi and Uganda currently lead the pack on three wins apiece, with second-ranked Uganda slightly ahead of Malawi on the leaderboard due to greater goal percentage. Zambia narrowly slips into fourth off the back of a 2-2 record, while Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe all have one win apiece. Neither Botswana nor Tanzania have won a match yet, despite some solid efforts.
Day four of the series is set to play out from 9am local time, November 12. The match of the day will play out between South Africa and Malawi, with just one rank between the two nations on the overall leaderboard. Zambia has the bye, while Botswana plays Uganda, Namibia plays Kenya and Zimbabwe plays Tanzania.
Check out the full Africa Netball Cup fixture HERE.
DAY 1 RESULTS
Uganda (77) def. Tanzania (29)
Malawi (70) def. Zambia (36)
South Africa (78) def. Zimbabwe (27)
Namibia (50) def. Botswana (41)
A huge Day 1 of the Africa Netball Cup saw big results across the board, with the three top ranked nations well and truly pulling out all the stops for their first matches. South Africa came out flying to down Zimbabwe by a whopping 51 goals, outclassing the Gems in a classy effort despite playing a couple of less experienced players. Uganda came out with a similar result, defeating Tanzania in the series opener by 48 goals, while Kenya earned the first day’s bye as Namibia and Botswana fought it out in the final match of the day, with Namibia marginally pipping Botswana at the post 50-41. Malawi also managed to reach the 70-goal margin, but was tested by Zambia’s offence which fought hard to register a 34-goal buffer.
Malawi Queens head coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said that she was impressed with her side, explaining that she saw significant improvement from their solid run at the Pent Series last week.
“I am feeling good after winning the first game on the first day of the tournament. It is always veery good to win,” she said post-match. “The girls did play well and I can see a lot of improvement from these girls.”
“During the Pent Series we lacked coordination which made us difficult to move forward and keep possession.”
DAY 2 RESULTS
Zambia (55) def. Tanzania (34)
Zimbabwe (50) def. Namibia (49)
South Africa (67) def. Kenya (25)
Malawi (67) def. Botswana (23)
Uganda (52) def. Zambia (33)
Day 2 saw another big mix of results, with a one-goal thriller and a couple of blowouts on the table. Namibia put on a show against Zimbabwe, leading at the first three breaks before the Gems could take control. The 50-49 result was a huge turnaround from Namibia despite not coming away with the win, with a 56-38 result against Zimbabwe just last week in the Pent Series. Namibia head coach Julene Meyer was impressed with her squad’s effort, explaining that while Zimbabwe were more composed and clinical, it was a huge step forward for the Desert Jewels, who do not rank on the World Netball leaderboard.
“I think it was a fantastic game and I think we are boxing way above our weight, with us being ranked 124th in the world, while they are number 12. We had the lead but we could not convert it into a win, but I’m very happy with the players. Last week we lost against the same team by about 20 goals, and this time it’s only one goal, so we are very close to beating them,” Meyer said.
“We need to improve our conversion, turning the ball possession into scoring opportunities, and turning those scoring opportunities into goals. There were some 50-50 balls and we also had some basic errors when the pressure was on, and I think one of the things that we need to improve is that composure under pressure,” she said.
“They are a top 12 nation so they are clinical, but we are challenging, we are standing our ground and holding our own. I wish we could have converted our chances, but I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity and then we will do better in terms of converting the lead into a win,” she added.
Despite still coming away with a big margin, Uganda was slightly humbled by Zambia, with the lower ranked nation putting on a defensive show and keeping the She-Cranes to 52 goals. Factor in that Zambia’s loss against Uganda came less than nine hours after their impressive 21-goal win over Tanzania, and fatigue certainly played into the second result. Malawi snatched up the biggest margin of the day, defeating Botswana by 44 goals and coming away with a better win percentage than South Africa, who defeated Kenya 67-25.
DAY 3 RESULTS
Zambia (61) def. Botswana (42)
South Africa (79) def. Tanzania (22)
Uganda (62) def. Namibia (36)
Malawi (56) def. Zimbabwe (42)
Kenya (46) def. Botswana (45)
Another big day of action saw a second nail-biter, with Kenya earning its first win of the series with a one-goal victory over Botswana. The hard-fought result saw neither team give an inch throughout with great intensity, with Kenya impressive in their ability to hold the marginal lead. Once again, the losing team of the final match was playing their second match of the day, with Botswana working hard through fatigue following a 19-goal loss to Zambia earlier in the day. Malawi was well tested by Zimbabwe, claiming a 56-42 victory while Uganda was also challenged by Namibia, coming away with a smaller margin than expected with Namibia’s teamwork really coming together. South Africa well and truly established themselves atop the leaderboard with a whopping 57-goal victory over Tanzania, outclassing them in every facet of the match.
“We wanted to win this game, just a few errors made the scoreline balloon like that but the fighting spirit was there,” said Zimbabwe Gems head coach, Lloyd Makunde post-match. “Defensively we were good, and attacking, we were not so good, and missed some chances.”