Uganda takes down Malawi to reach fifth placed playoff

UGANDA has defied its position of eighth in the world to reach the fifth placed playoff after defeating African rivals Malawi by 11 goals overnight. The She Cranes had a tight tussle early but kicked away in the final three quarters to post a comfortable double-digit win, 57-46.

She Cranes goal attack Shadiah Nassanga was awarded Player of the Match after shooting a deadly 38 goals from 39 attempts, and having 14 goal assists from 17 feeds. She took the reins off star shooter Mary Cholhok (19 goals from 21 attempts).

After both sides scored 14 goals in the opening term, Uganda managed to kick away in the second with a nice five-goal bugger at half-time. Malawi tried to mix it up by replacing Thandie Galleta with Jane Chimaliro at wing attack just 15 seconds into the second term, but reversed the decision 10 minutes later.

Uganda only made the one change with Falidah Kadondi coming on for Christine Nakitto at goal defence, and finished the half like a house on fire. Back-to-back goals to Malawi midway through the term to Mwai Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula saw the higher ranked side take a one-goal lead, but then Uganda piled on eight of the last 10 goals to snatch it back and go up by five, 28-23 at the main break.

Nassanga was benefiting from the attention on Cholhok, shooting nine goals at 100 per cent from the term, while Margret Baagala had six goal assists in the term. It forced the rare move of sending Towera Vinkhumbo to the bench and brought on Jane Dambo. Though Malawi was breaking even early, Uganda again had a three goal run in the eighth minute which reversed that move.

Nassanga finished that term shooting 11 goals from 12 attempts, as Baagala continued to be a key player, while her opponent Takondwa Lwazi was doing her best to set up her class shooters. Picking up eight goal assists as Mvula (seven goals from seven attempts) and Kumwenda (five from six) swapped positions in the circle. Unfortunately Galleta was being well held by Shaffie Nalwanja who was strong in wing defence.

The deficit was out to eight – after being as much as nine – at the final break, but Malawi was not going to throw in the towel. The brought on Dambo again into wing defence to replace Grace Mwafulirwa in a bid to mix up the defensive lineup as the She Cranes remained the same seven. Once again it was fairly even, but given Uganda held the lead, it suited them perfectly.

In the end, the She Cranes were cleaner and made more of their time in possession, with a whopping 37 less penalties (59-96) and six less turnovers (15-21). Along with the shooting pair, Baagala was a clear standout with 24 goal assists and an intercept, while Nalwanga shut down her opponent with three intercepts, three gains and five deflections, while only having one turnover in 60 minutes of play.

Mvula (27 goals from 28 attempts) and Kumwenda (19 from 23) did their best from limited opportunities, while Lwazi (21 goal assists, two intercepts) had moments in centre despite Baagala winning that battle. Considering the She Cranes’ win, goal keeper Loreen Ngwira also did relatively well restricting Cholhok, and even picked up a couple of intercepts.

South Africa (72) defeated Tonga (46)

In similar circumstances to the other game, South Africa proved too strong for Tonga, storming to a 26-goal win to ensure a top six finish at its home World Cup. After the Tala put pressure on the Proteas in the first term to draw level at 12 goals apiece, South Africa put the foot down and ran away with the contest to secure a 72-46 victory.

Both sides made plenty of changes throughout the contest, but the Proteas’ decision to bring on Elmere van der Berg 11 minutes into the match paid dividends as the shooter went on to win Player of the Match in a huge 51-goal performance. She was well supported by Nichole Taljaard (16 goals from 20 attempts and 25 goal assists), while Izette Griesel had 18 goal assists and two intercepts.

For Tonga, Cat Tuivaiti (19 goals at 100 per cent) was the pick of the shooters this game, with Uneeq Palavi (10 goals from 12 attempts) trying hard but well held by the world class pairing of Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius.

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