By Carlos Kambaekwa
The Khomas netball invitation team returned unbeaten from their short tour to the Mother City, where the team participated in the annual Southern Regional Tournament in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, last weekend.
The girls from Khomas were thrown in the lion’s den in Group D that consisted of the Boland juniors side, Western Province third strings and Hantam, but the Namibians acquitted themselves well and came out unscathed – winning all three group matches.
The seemingly well-balanced Khomas outfit opened their assault in the two-day tourney with a date against the silky, skillful Boland Junior A side and found themselves trailing by a solitary goal after the first quarter (7-6), but the visitors quickly regrouped and by the end of the second quarter the teams were on level terms again (14-14).
Khomas made a tactical change at the beginning of the third quarter that saw goal poacher Jolene Dunn reverting back to beef up the team’s somewhat fragile defence with Lizelle Bock teaming up with the sharp-shooting Izani Nagel upfront.
The pair could only muster a combined four goals at the end of the third quarter but however managed to get their act together in the final quarter as they rattled the loop at will to steer the visitors to a hard-fought 29-28 win, after trailing by 5 goals going into the home straight.
Khomas played their second match against Hantam and had little trouble in seeing off their opponents by 40 goals to 20, in a match they easily dominated from the onset – taking a healthy lead in each quarter.
The visitors wrapped up their short tour with another splendid display against Western Province New Balance C team – running out comfortable winners by 45 goals to 23.
Khomas Invitational Team Manager Isodere Nell praised her team for the manner in which they lifted themselves up in their opening match against the strong Boland team.
“I think the girls were a bit nervous in the beginning, but they showed great character in the end and from what we’ve seen in Stellenbosch, I would like to think local netball is on the right track, because we surpassed all expectations with our performance and certainly left a mark there.”
Nell says the team is still very young and relatively inexperienced with only four players having tasted international netball before and that was at junior level for that matter.
Namibian netball has been heavily starved of international participation over the last couple of years, courtesy of the mother body’s inability to get her ducks in the row in a bid to restore this once flourishing discipline back to her former glory days.