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19 September 2018 | in World University Championships, Netball

African teams dominate first days of WUC Netball

KAMPALA – African teams have taken a commanding in the third World University Netball Championships at Makerere. Hosts Uganda, defending champions South Africa and Zimbabwe are beating all opposition in the weeklong event at one of Africa’s oldest universities.

 

Uganda was in superb form yesterday beating neighbours Kenya 105-15 and Singapore 77-19 at Makerere’s new indoor sports facility. South Africa who are eyeing their second straight title were in equally impressive as they overwhelmed Sri Lanka 116-6. Zimbabwe, making their second appearance at the biennial event, beat a much improved USA 40-28.

 

Uganda’s Mary Nuba, standing at 6ft 2in, was the day’s star as she top scored in both her team’s matches. Against Kenya she fired in 72 goals off 92 attempts. Team captain Irene Eyaru who started off as a goal shooter scored 31 goals from 33 attempts. Nuba who began as a goal attacker then exchanged roles with Eyaru.

 

South Africa are seen by some pundits as the favourites. “They are a solid well balanced side with maturity far beyond most of their opponents.”

Zimbabwe’s Letwin Ncube noted that their performance this year is an improvement of their inaugural show in 2012 when they were only able to get one win. “We have had our lessons and I must say we have gained confidence. That’s why we are winning more matches this time.”

 

USA are yet to win a match but they also have all the signs of a fast improving side. “We should be even better in our next games,” promised captain Amara Mbionwu, however noting that they will also have to improve on their passing.

 

Despite losing to Uganda, Singapore also displayed good organization. They made the best of spaces and regularly made good interceptions, though like their captain Tabitha Ong   noted, they were let down by their inferior size. “We played a much better team with bigger physique. It was a tough match but we did our best.”

 

England won the inaugural tournament in 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa after beating the hosts. South Africa however bounced back stronger in the next edition in Miami in 2016. They beat Jamaica 43-39 in the final to emerge champions. In the semi-final they beat Uganda, who eventually lost to Australia in the bronze medal game.

 

Host nations organize the biennial event together with the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU). It is a women's indoor tournament with a maximum of 12 teams competing. A total of 12 competitors and five officials are allowed per team. Uganda, a fast growing netball country, has featured in all editions of the competition.

Day 1 results:
South Africa 117 USA 4
Zimbabwe 44 Sri Lanka 31
Singapore 39 Kenya 38
Uganda 102 USA 16


Day 2 results:
Uganda 105 v Kenya 15
South Africa116 v Sri Lanka 6
Zimbabwe 40 v USA 28
Uganda 77 v Singapore 19


Day 3 schedule:
10:00 local: Zimbabwe v Kenya
12:00: South Africa v Singapore
14:00: Uganda v Sri Lanka
16:00: USA v Kenya
18:00: South Africa v Zimbabwe

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