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22 September 2018 | in World University Championships, Netball

Uganda beat reigning champions South Africa to win WUC Netball

The trophy is staying home

KAMPALA – Hosts Uganda made a late recovery to upset favourites South Africa in the World University Netball Championship. Uganda edged the Spar Proteas 44-43 in the final minutes of the tension packed final at Makerere University’s new indoor facility.

 

Towering goal shooter Mary Nuba was the day’s heroine as she made the decisive shot that gave Uganda the title. “I have never felt better. This is the best day of my life,” Nuba stated at the end of the final presided over by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. South Africa were downcast as they surrendered the title they won in the second edition of the biennial championship in 2016.

 

Uganda’s strength in depth was evident on Friday as the hosts first held Africa’s top team to a 42-all Chante Louw. No wonder Louw was top scorer with 27 goals from 33 attempts. Then came the decisive quarter. Many Ugandans draw at the round robin stage. The first quarter of the final four hours later ended 10-10. Then the South Africans took charge leading the next segment 25-21. They were still ahead in the third quarter 33-30. At that point many Ugandans resigned. Even the noisy Makerere students in the stands went mute. It was only Zimbabwe, rooting for their neighbours, who could be heard.

 

Matters were not helped by an at times inaccurate Ugandan shooter Mary Nuba. South Africa were also tactically more astute with a solid defense and killer attacking long passes. At the end of their moves was always the lethal goal shooter were understandably resigned. Nuba was making unnecessary misses. Then you also had the hosts’ blind passes.

 

Then in the final half of this quarter it suddenly seemed to dawn on the hosts that at 22, made that decisive score that handed them the title. They were about to let down a country that had spiritedly backed them. They were immediately fired up. With players like diminutive Susan Atino exhibiting a classic act, the hosts started intercepting passes. These were immediately followed up with penetrative moves deep in to enemy territory. Nuba and goal attacker Irene Eyaru were also now very efficient.

 

Uganda levelled the score at 40-40 almost sending the roof off the arena in celebration. From that point it was Uganda in charge until Nuba, who together with Eyaru top scored for Uganda

 

Championship Team Uganda – GS: Mary Nuba, GA: Eyaru Irene, WD: Florence Adunia, WA: Suzan Eyaru, GK: Shiffe Nalwanja, GD: Joan Nampungu and C: Betty Kizza.