Baby Jewels rediscover shine 

The Baby Jewels are looking to build on yesterday’s emphatic win over Tanzania at the Netball Youth Cup Qualifiers Africa. Photo: Netball Namibia

Namibia brushed off a disappointing opening day defeat to Malawi at the Netball World Youth Cup 2025 Qualifiers Africa in Pretoria to overpower Tanzania yesterday to revive their ambition of finishing in the top three.

The 55-17 victory was essential for the Baby Jewels to keep the early pacesetters, led by hosts South Africa, within their sights.

Namibia showed little to no ill effects from Sunday’s 43-18 loss to Malawi as they swept Tanzania aside in a dominant display.

Musambani was pragmatic in his analyses of both matches, saying his team showed courage to bounce back and put in a near flawless performance.

That competitive character would help them realise their dream of punching their ticket to the 2025 Netball World Youth Cup in Gibraltar, he said.

“Yesterday, we did not do well as a team. There was a bit of a hiccup, but after the game we talked about it and solved the problems,” Musambani said.

“Today [yesterday], the players followed instructions, and everyone was happy. But that is behind us now, and we focus on tomorrow’s game against Zimbabwe.

“I hope we will do well. The players are okay, they are motivated, let’s wait for tomorrow [today] and hope for a good result,” he said.

Jewels skipper Elizabeth Besser was delighted with how the team came together, following the defeat to Malawi.

“Regarding today’s game, I think we really did well. We went back to analyse yesterday’s loss and executed what we were supposed to do.

“As captain, I’m really proud, because everyone on court did what they were supposed to do, and that was the cause of our win today,” she said.

There are four spots up for grabs to represent the continent in the 20-team competition.

The global youth tournament returns for the first time since 2017 after the 2021 edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

South Africa lead the standings, following emphatic wins over Tanzania (75-7) and Zambia (72-9), followed by Zimbabwe and Malawi, who were not in action yesterday.

Namibia leapfrogged Kenya to place fourth, with Zambia and Tanzania completing the table. Netball Namibia president Rebekka Goagoses is quietly confident that her novice Baby Jewels will grow into the tournament.

“It was not the expected result against Malawi. We were thinking that we could have fought till the end to narrow the gap. However, it is a game that is behind us,” Goagoses said.

“We needed to regroup, refocus and keep on motivating the girls to try to keep to what the coaches are directing and instructing.

“Today’s game against Tanzania got off to a good start. One could see that the girls are getting to play together as a nation.

“It was heartwarming to see how our girls are gelling. And we believe and hope that we’ll have a better game against Zimbabwe.”

Africa Netball is looking at introducing a continental competition for the under-21 age group, Goagoses said.

She said such a platform would provide invaluable international experience which can result in improved quality and better results for Africa globally.

“It’s a high level for them and exposure plays an important role. It has become imperative for our athletes to be exposed to international matches on a regular basis in order to prepare them adequately for the day when they have to start playing in world cup qualifiers,” said Goagoses, who doubles as Africa Netball’s vice president for development.

“Currently, we are focused on seniors. We need to start looking at incorporating the juniors alongside the seniors when there are tournaments to be played.

“You cannot gain experience and skills grabbing at one tournament. It must be regular, at least three times a year,” she said.

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