Uganda Beats Hosts South Africa to Finish 5th at Netball World Cup

The Uganda national netball team, the She Cranes, achieved a historic victory over South Africa on Sunday, securing a 49-47 win and claiming fifth place at the World Cup, their best-ever placement in the tournament’s history.

For the first time, Uganda leaves the prestigious netball championship as Africa’s top-ranked team, marking a significant improvement from their 7th-place finish in the 2019 edition.

Facing a formidable South African team, against whom they had suffered a loss in the preliminary round, the She Cranes were well aware of the challenge ahead and displayed unwavering determination throughout the game.

Despite being outnumbered by enthusiastic South African fans in the Arena, the few Ugandan supporters passionately cheered for their team, undeterred by the vocal home crowd.

The atmosphere in the Arena became electrifying, fueled by the fervor of both teams’ fans. From the start, the She Cranes applied intense pressure on South Africa, resulting in a closely contested first quarter, with the She Cranes holding a slender 12-11 lead. The second quarter witnessed an intense battle for dominance as both teams fought tooth and nail, ending in a nail-biting 23-23 tie.

Coach Fred Mugerwa’s strategic decision to bring on Sarah Nakiyunga for Nassanga and push Irene Eyaru upfront alongside Nuba proved pivotal, injecting momentum into the Ugandan side. As the third quarter drew to a close, Uganda maintained a lead of 39-37.

At this point, star player May Nuba had tallied up 23 goals, with captain Irene Eyaru contributing six goals, and Baagala securing 20 assists.

In the final stages of the game, anxiety gripped Ugandan fans as the boisterous South African supporters drowned out their voices in the Arena. Nevertheless, the She Cranes exhibited resilience and secured a hard-fought 49-47 victory over South Africa.

Shaffie Nalwanja, the She Cranes wing defender, noted that defeating South Africa with all their advantages was a significant milestone for the team, one they can build on for future competitions.

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