WINDHOEK – Hosts Namibia defied the underdog tag to claim a well-deserved victory against Zambia in the final match of the Debmarine Namibia Senior Netball Pent Series at the Patrick Iyambo Police College Courts, south of Windhoek, yesterday.
The resurgent “Desert Jewels” defeated Zambia by 54 baskets to 43 in a hotly contested final where “Mansie Tjivera’s Babes” put up a gallant showing to dispatch their much fancied opponents in fine style.
Expertly engineered by the accurate shooting of the net rattling pair of bulky basket buster Dorkas “Toko” Tjipetekera and the cat footed Anna Kasper – the Namibians were in rampant mood taking the fight to the muscular Zambians, ranked way above them in world rankings.
Despite an electrifying start, the hosts found themselves trailing by two goals at the end of the first quarter.
However, a thorough tongue lashing by head coach Mansie Tjivera, inspired the “Desert Jewels” to up their game, drawing level on 26 goals apiece upon completion of the second quarter.
After taking a four goal cushion going into the decisive final quarter – the hosts were four goals to the good 41-37 but went for the jugular on the home straight – stretching their lead to an unassailable tally of eleven goals to end the contest in devastating fashion. Final score: Namibia 54- 43 Zambia.
Zimbabwe finished runner up, tailed by Zambia in third spot leaving Botswana to pick up the pieces for fourth place while the Namibian Development A Team had to be satisfied with the wooden spoon upon completion of the weeklong tournament.
It is now back to the drawing board with the World championships qualifiers just around the corner, that will see Namibia fight it out with Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Swaziland, Lesotho, Kenya and Tanzania for the two available spots reserved for Africa’s representatives.
The much anticipated qualifiers kicks off in Lusaka, Zambia in August, this year. South Africa qualifies automatically while Malawi has been thrown a lifeline as the sixth best placed netball playing nation on the world rankings.
The top five ranked countries earn automatic qualification for the global showpiece but 3rd placed England is exempted from the qualification criterion, as the host nation.