‘It’s our time to shine’

The Namibian team will take on Zambia in the Africa Netball Cup final today. Photo: contributed

The Desert Jewels are positive they will be crowned African Netball Cup champions in their first ever final of the competition today when they confront Zambia’s Copper Queens in Gaborone.

It is a historic clash which Namibia is looking to use as a launchpad for a sustained challenge for honours.

The final contest starts at 16h00.

“We are extremely excited and humbled at the same time that we managed to reach this stage.

For us, it’s already an achievement to be playing for the gold medal,” says Netball Namibia president Rebekka Goagoses.

“We are in awe. We’re getting goosebumps.

“It is great for netball in Africa, especially for Namibia that we now really have started competing.

“It is important when you’re building a team towards a goal you want to achieve. One of our desires is to qualify for the World Cup, and why not start with Africa? You need to beat the African teams to be able to qualify from the continent to join the top 16 in the world,” says Goagoses.

“This is just a step in the right direction. It did not just start now, the dream has been backdated but it’s becoming a reality, and I trust that after three years we’ll be a different Desert Jewels.”

Namibia will also be out to avenge their only loss of the competition suffered against the Zambians last week.

Then, Jewels mentor Julene Meyer says her side paid for a sluggish start to the match which they lost 52-42. Namibia do not intend to play catch-up this time around.

Jewels skipper Anna Kasper says they are fired up for the final.

“The spirit is very high and positive. Our hope is to win the cup and take it home,” Kasper says.

Both sides have won four matches and recorded one loss each, with Zambia going down to Zimbabwe, who fell to Namibia in their first match of the tournament.

The Jewels qualified to play in the decider on account of a superior goal difference over Zimbabwe, the highest ranked nation at the tournament.

The Zimbabweans only managed to beat Eswatini by 58-48 baskets on Monday but needed to score a difference of at least 17 goals.

“We need to stick to our game plan, we must go in vigorously. Zambia is a very strong in attack and defence, but we did our analysis. So, if the players stick to the coach’s game plane, it’s ours. It’s our time to shine,” Goagoses says.

Host nation Botswana were hoping to end the tournament on a high with victory over Zimbabwe in the bronze medal clash on Tuesday, while Eswatini and Kenya battled it out for fifth place.

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