Friday, August 5
•South Africa 48-54 Uganda
Uganda’s National Netball team, the She Cranes, recorded a rare win against South Africa to finish fifth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
It’s the first victory for Uganda against Africa’s number one in recent memory and so far their best achievement in their second appearance in the competition.
The win comes on the back of a resolute performance against Malawi that saw Fred Mugerwa’s side finish third in the group.
Coming into Friday’s classification, the winner between two Africa’s top sides woul seal a fifth place.
Mary Nuba Cholhok scored 31 goals while Irene Eyaru contributed 21 and Shadia Nassanga added two more in a historical win.
Ine-Mari Venter and Van Der Berg scored 25 and 17 goals respectively for South Africa in a losing effort.
South Africa looked a better side in the opening exchanges but once She Cranes settled into the game, they seamlessly got control of proceedings thereafter.
They led 15-13 after the first quarter and were up by nine points at halftime.
The decision to take off Jesca Achan in the centre almost backfired as South Africa started to get grip on the game and cut the deficit to just four points going into the last quarter.
But the She Cranes were industrious in the last quarter, scored on every possession, as South Africa were hard done by a couple of poor decisions to let the game slip away.
Huge Milestone for Ugandan Netball
The last time Uganda picked a win against South Africa’s Spar Proteas in a competitive game was in 2011 in Maputo at the All Africa games.
And with stats very scanty, there has not been many good results for Uganda against the South Africans.
There has been a semblance of organisation in Uganda’s Netball off the court since Sarah Babirye Kityo took over as the Federation President.
And such a win is a huge step towards the new administration’s plan of making Uganda the number one team in Africa.
There is still a long way to go and that will need all hands on deck for every party involved including the Government.
There is a big project of building a new home for the She Cranes, that started with fundraising, and the performance of the Girls at Commonwealth is a justification for that and the Girls have done their part and spoke with actions.
The Technical team, led by new coach Fred Mugerwa will also take enormous credit for a team that played no formidable Friendly in build up for the games.
And the fact that they have done this without much input from the reliable Peace Proscovia shows that the future, in Nuba, is bright.
And Netball World Cup is around the corner, and whether She Cranes will hope to build from such a performance.
But the other important thing is that there is more hope that this tournament kicks doors for most of the local players including Achan, Eyalu, Stella Oyella among others to earn deals abroad.
Uganda’s Matches At 2022 Commonwealth Games:
•New Zealand 40-53
•Trinidad and Tobago 62-28
•Northern Ireland 63-26
•South Africa 54-48