The Desert Jewels have designs on adorning the Africa Netball Cup after snatching the favourites tag from Zimbabwe with a 45-36 statement victory in Gaborone, Botswana, on Tuesday.
Namibia’s jubilant head coach, Julene Meyer, challenged her side to maintain their excellent form for the remainder of the competition.
In the absence of African netball powerhouses South Africa, Uganda and Malawi, the strong start puts Namibia in a strong position to challenge for honours.
Especially, as it came against a Zimbabwean team who, at 13th on World Netball’s standings, are the top-ranked side in the competition.
Placed 22nd globally, Namibia are the third-best ranked nation at the tournament, with today’s opponents Zambia (15th) the second-most favourite team to win the continental title.
Another positive result today for the Jewels against the Copper Queens would further strengthen their ambition for the throne.
Also in action today are Kenya versus Eswatini and Zimbabwe against Botswana, who began their Africa Cup campaign with a 36-28 win over Kenya on Tuesday.
The tournament is being played on a round-robin basis, and the team with the highest number of points will play in the final against a second-placed team.
“It was an excellent win for the team and a strong start to the tournament. We’ve got one down, the top-ranked team in Zimbabwe that we played,” Meyer said.
“Great performance from the players all over. I’m very happy with them and very happy with the outcome. Obviously, we’d love to take this momentum going forward.”
Namibia led 10-6 in the first quarter, but Zimbabwe levelled the score at 20-20 by half-time.
However, the Jewels picked up the intensity to go 32-28 by the end of the third quarter before closing out the action 45-36.
Zambia also got their campaign off to a strong start, beating Eswatini 63-47 yesterday.
They led from start to finish, claiming the first set 14-10 and 33-25 at half-time.
The Zambians extended their lead to 47-36 in the third quarter before emphatically sealing victory.
“Next up we face Zambia, which is a totally different team [in style to Zimbabwe]. So, we will have to ensure that our tactics are right for that game. We’re enjoying it and looking forward to the next challenge,” Meyer said.
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