Uganda national netball team, She Cranes pushed New Zealand all the way but in the end, the Silver Ferns scored a hard-fought 54-44 victory over their African counterparts at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town. Considering there are 13 World Cup debutants in the Uganda squad of 15, this was quite an achievement.
In the circle, Mary Cholhok’s height as goal shooter for the She Cranes was a great advantage. She only missed her first shot in the ninth minute of the first quarter, but settled down quickly to make sure her team stayed in touch with the world champions.
Uganda’s work around the circle in feeding the ball through to Cholhok was good. Centre Margret Baagala, who was the most valuable player in yesterday’s victory over Singapore, provided the necessary support and once again was outstanding on attack.
The She Cranes started the second quarter at a blistering pace, intending to wipe out New Zealand’s two-point lead. The world champions were properly tested by their opponent’s style of play and they were thrown off guard somewhat. With halftime creeping up, silly mistakes and a few missed shots at goal by Uganda gave the Silver Ferns a 25-21 lead.
Uganda made their first changes in the third quarter with Muhameed Haniisha coming on as goalkeeper while Shadiah Nassanga moved into the goal attack position. With New Zealand upping the pace, the She Cranes started becoming impatient and saw the wealth of possession they enjoyed in the first half, slipping away.
The Silver Ferns were increasingly closing the gaps on court, forcing Uganda to play around with the ball instead of getting it to the goal circle and the shooters, in the hopes of causing a major upset. With five minutes left on the clock, the world champions held a comfortable 12-point lead and held on to make sure of a much-needed win.
Most Valuable Player: Phoenix Karaka (New Zealand)
Goal Shooting Percentage: New Zealand 93.1 per cent / Uganda 77.2 per cent
Penalty Count (Contact and Obstruction): New Zealand 50 / Uganda 49
Quarter scores: 13-11 / 25-11 / 38-32 / 55-44