The She Cranes, Uganda’s netball team, faced a 54-44 defeat against the reigning champions, New Zealand, during their second preliminary Group D match at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. While there was little sign of disappointment, the team’s coach, Fred Mugerwa, emphasized the need for greater consistency throughout their matches in the ongoing Netball World Cup, starting with their upcoming game against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.
During the match against New Zealand, Mary Nuba, the goal shooter, managed to score 30 goals out of 38 attempts, but Uganda’s performance dwindled in the final quarter. Despite holding leads of 2-0, 9-8, and 15-14 during the contest, New Zealand’s five-time champions outpaced Uganda in the third and fourth quarters, securing a 10-goal victory.
Uganda maintained possession for 56 percent of the game but suffered from 20 turnovers, five more than their opponents. New Zealand showcased a balanced scoring effort with shooters Te Paea Selby-Rickit (17/19) and Grace Nweke (15/16), goal attacker Maia Wilson (10/11), and Ameliaranne Ekenasio (12/12), all scoring in double digits.
Mary Nuba expressed her pride in the team’s performance but acknowledged the need for more consistent play. Uganda missed 13 shots out of their total 57 attempts, with skipper Irene Eyaru, who started as goal attack, scoring three goals out of six attempts.
In the upcoming match against Trinidad and Tobago, coach Mugerwa has the opportunity to make careful rotations. In their previous victory against Singapore, Hanisha Muhammad started as the goal shooter and performed well, scoring 31 out of 35 attempts, while Nuba came off the bench to make 15 out of 17, and Christine Namulumba achieved a perfect shooting record with 15 goals.
A win against Trinidad and Tobago would secure Uganda’s spot in the next round, regardless of the outcome of the match between New Zealand and Singapore.
The Netball World Cup continues with more exciting matches, including Australia vs. Fiji, Tonga vs. Zimbabwe, Malawi vs. Barbados, England vs. Scotland, Wales vs. Sri Lanka, Jamaica vs. South Africa, New Zealand vs. Singapore, and Uganda vs. Trinidad & Tobago scheduled for Sunday.