Christine Nakitto of Uganda in action during the Netball World Cup 2023, Pool G match between South Africa and Uganda at Cape Town International Convention Centre, Court 1 on August 03, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. | Credit: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023
  • South Africa 52-50 Uganda

South Africa edged Uganda’s She Cranes 52-50 in a Pool G match at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

The She Cranes showed a lot of fight in overcoming a 33-19 halftime deficit to tie the game at 44 with about ten minutes to play in the fourth quarter before bizarrely falling short by a two-goal margin.

Uganda who were without their focal player Maggie Baagala due to illness had early struggles with Lillian Achola who started in the place of Baagala and skipper Irene Eyaru out of colour.

Coach Fred Mugerwa would later in the second quarter make some pivotal changes. Hanisha Muhameed joined Christine Nakitto in the defensive circle for Stella Nanfuka while Sarah Nakiyunga was rested for player of the game Shadiah Nassanga, a move that saw Eyaru shift to Wing Attack and Nassanga join Mary Nuba in the circle.

“It was a bit physical and that’s why we were trailing by 14 goals at halftime. When we went to the dressing room I told the girls to be a bit harder and not lose hope, we have to fight for the country. And we recovered, it is unfortunate that we couldn’t take it,” Mugerwa said. 

The impact of the changes was more vivid in the third quarter that She Cranes won 17-8 as the group was a bit more fluid on the court. Nuba remained perfect as was Nassanga while at the other end, Nakitto made important intercepts.

The fourth quarter was a seesaw as the game came down to a crucial intercept under the Uganda goal post by goal defence Nicola Smith on Nassanga and miscued pass from Achola that gave Proteas a two-goal cushion.

Defeat means that Uganda finishes fourth in Group G but still has a chance to fight for 5th place in the tournament.

The She Cranes will cross with the third-placed team in Group F (Malawi) later today while South Africa who finished third in Group G will meet Tonga. The winners of the two matches will face off in a fifth-place playoff.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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