WINDHOEK – The Patrick Iyambo Police College Netball courts are the chosen venue when Namibia hosts the second edition of the annual Netball Pent Series this weekend.
The five-day round robin tourney gets underway in earnest on Saturday and sees a total of five nations competing for supremacy. East African powerhouse Uganda headlines the appetising strong line up.
The Ugandans are hot favourites to clinch the tourney but could expect tough competition from hosts Namibia and Botswana as well as rank outsiders Zambia and Zimbabwe. Co-coaches Manzi Tjivera and retired netball sensation Toetsie Tjihero have assembled a relatively young and fairly inexperienced squad with home ground advantage likely to steer hosts nation into greater heights.
Namibian netball has taken an alarming slippery slope journey over the last couple of years, hum strung by off the field squabbles resulting in a massive drop in world rankings.
Namibia was ranked the second best netball-playing nation on the African continent behind big sister South Africa upon the country’s democracy in 1990. However, in-fights and unending power struggles led to the team’s unavoidable demise – leaving Namibia way behind in the pecking order of the finest netball playing nations in Southern Africa.
Despite all the traumas of the last couple of years, the country managed against all odds to produce a decent number of top netballers playing beyond Namibian borders with admirable distinction.
The conspicuous absence of organised league structures across all regions is another stumbling block and ultimate Achilles Heel hampering the overall development of this particular sporting discipline.
Unfortunately, two of the most lethal basket rattlers on the continent, South Africa and Malawi will be notable absentees for the weeklong netball tourney whilst regular campaigners Lesotho and Swaziland are also missing from the lineup.
Action gets underway on Saturday morning at 10h30 when host Namibia opens her assault in the tourney against the fast improving Botswana. The match will be preceded by the opening ceremony at 09h00,
Pre-tournament favourites Uganda completes the day’s proceedings when the Cranes entertain Zambia in the second match at 14h30.
The full fixtures read as follows:
Sunday 10 June 2018
Botswana vs Zambia 15h00
Namibia vs Zimbabwe 17h00
Monday 11 June 2018
Zimbabwe vs Botswana 15h00
Namibia vs Uganda 17h00
Tuesday 12 June 2018
Zambia vs Zimbabwe 15h00
Uganda vs Botswana 17h00
Wednesday 13 June 2018
Uganda vs Zimbabwe 09h00
Namibia vs Zambia 11h00
Closing Ceremony 12h30