Winning the International Netball World Cup could still be a myth for any African nation as of now but there was perhaps honest improvement for the continent at the 2019 edition in Liverpool, England.

For the first time, all nations that represented Africa at the coveted global event finished within the top eight best-ranked teams, the best performance for Africa.

  • South Africa – 4th
  • Malawi – 6th
  • Uganda – 7th
  • Zimbabwe – 8th

Therein, Uganda earned a final placement of seventh, the best performance by the She Cranes on their third appearance.

The maiden outing in 1978 in Trinidad and Tobago saw the She Cranes finish 13th overall while they settled for eighth position in their second appearance in 2015 in Australia.

With Africa (South Africa) set to host the next World Cup in 2023, this can be a performance to be proud of according to Proteas player Erin Burger.

“I’m really looking forward to what Africa can do,” she said.

Kawowo Sports’ Joel Muyita looks at the performance of Africa Nations at the International Netball World Cup since its inception in 1963.

1963 (East Bourne, England)

The inaugural edition was hosted in East Bourne, England with Australia emerging champions.

The tournament had eleven countries with only South Africa representing Africa.

The Proteas settled for eighth place in a tournament played on a round-robin format winning two games (against Scotland and Northern Ireland).

1967 (Perth, Australia)

The number of participating teams reduced to eight at the final tournament but Africa was represented by two nations that’s South Africa and Malawi.

South Africa made a tremendous improvement finishing overall third winning five of the seven games played.

However debutants Malawi came last winning just one game (against Scotland).

1971 (Kingston, Jamaica)

Still, eight countries competed in a round-robin format at the third edition.

Malawi and South Africa returned to represent Africa but settled for 7th and 6th positions respectively.

The tournament was won by Trinidad and Tobago, the only nation that has won the championship outside Australia and New Zealand.

1975 (Auckland, New Zealand)

South Africa made an improvement to fourth position at the 1975 Netball World Cup.

However, Malawi came last (eighth) in the final placements.

1979 ( Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)

Uganda was the only team that represented Africa at the 1979 edition in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the time, South Africa was barred from participation because of apartheid.

This was Uganda’s first appearance at the Netball World Cup and it was also the first time teams were divided into groups.

Uganda was in group 2 alongside England, Saints Kitts and Nevis plus Canada.

The She Cranes failed to go past the group stages finishing third with only one win against Canada and came 13th overall.

The 1979 edition was unique because it was the first and last time the Netball World Cup was jointly won.

Trinidad and Tobago, Australia and New Zealand all had the same number of points after the second phase where nine teams played in a round-robin format.

New Zealand had beaten Trinidad and Tobago 49-43, the latter defeated Australia 40-38 while Australia won 38-36 against New Zealand.
And because there was no defined tiebreaker at the time, the trophy was jointly won.

There was no representation for Africa for the next two editions that is 1983 and 1987 in Singapore and Scotland respectively.

1991 (Sydney, Australia)

Africa returned to the coveted global championship with Namibia the sole representative making their debut.

They were pooled in group A alongside traditional giants New Zealand and Jamaica.

Namibia came third in group A with six points and 13th overall.

1995 (Birmingham, England)

The tournament saw the return of South Africa after the abolition of apartheid.

The Proteas came back with a bang going all the way to finishing second, the best finish by an African team. The lost 68-48 to Australia in the final.

This edition also went down the history books with a record appearance of 27 teams.

Malawi also returned but settled for eighth place.

1999 (Christ Church, New Zealand)

For the first time, Africa had three representatives that is Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.

South Africa went all the way to the quarterfinals where they lost to England 44-42.

They eventually ended the tournament in fifth position, Malawi came in 11th place while Zambia were a distant 17th.

2003 ( Kingston, Jamaica)

South Africa still reached the quarterfinals but once again fell to a familiar opponent in England.

They settled for fifth place overall.

2007 (Auckland, New Zealand)

The tournament was initially supposed to be played in Fiji but due to political instability, the championship shifted to New Zealand.

Africa had three nations with Botswana making their debut joining usual suspects Malawi and South Africa.

Malawi were the best ranked African team finishing fifth, one slot ahead of South Africa while Botswana came in tenth position.

2011 (Kallang, Singapore)

Botswana came back for the second successive edition but their performance dropped ending the tournament in 13th place.

South Africa and Malawi came 5th and 6th respectively.

2015 (Sydney, Australia)

A record appearance for Africa with four nations taking part.

Uganda returned to the World Cup for the first time since 1979 and finished overall eighth.

South Africa maintained their fifth place while Malawi and Zambia came 6th and 14th respectively.

2019 (Liverpool, England)

All the four teams that represented Africa finished within the top eight places, the first time it was happening thus the best performance for Africa.

Uganda bettered their 2015 performance by one slot moving to seventh position.

Zimbabwe who lost 58-47 to Uganda in the placements came eighth.

Malawi came 7th while South Africa who lost to hosts England in the bronze medal match finished fourth.

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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