Uganda national netball team, She Cranes put in a dominating performance to score a resounding 74-33 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Sunday.
Their previous World Cup encounter was in 2019 in Liverpool, with the She Cranes scoring a narrow 57-54 victory then. They currently occupy the 8th position on the world rankings compared to the Calypso Girls’ 11th.
The Sunday victory means that She Cranes finish second in Group D, second behind title holders New Zealand, the only side to beat Uganda at the competition. This implies they are through to the next round of the competition.
Despite a shaky start and trailing by a handful of goals in the opening minutes, Uganda’s strategic moves soon started challenging Trinidad & Tobago. They resorted to their trademark physicality and posed problems at both ends of the court for their opponents. Goalkeeper Muhameed Haniisha proved especially troublesome for the Trinidad & Tobago shooters of Joelisa Cooper and Afeisha Noel. She was responsible for a number of intercepts and was instrumental in her team leading by three points after the first 15 minutes.
The second quarter saw Uganda strengthening their grip on the match, leaving their opponents struggling to find a way to penetrate their solid defence. This carried through to the Ugandan goal shooters Mary Cholhok and Irene Eyaru who consistently converted attempts into points on the board. Cholhok was the leading goal scorer in the UK Netball Super League recently, scoring 908 goals at an average of 50 per match with an 89% accuracy.
Coming back from the halftime break 33-18 in the lead, Uganda pounded on the pressure even more. The Calypso Girls tried to stage a comeback through some individual contributions, including from Joelisa Cooper and Alena Brooks who between them, managed nine turnovers in general play.
Uganda however stood firmly in their way, playing as a cohesive unit and not allowing their opposition much breathing space. Their lead was substantial and the players kept their focus throughout the next 15 minutes, reaching the 50-point mark before the end of the third quarter.
In the final 15 minutes, the She Cranes solidified their domination. Their passing was precise and scoring opportunities were created without putting in too much effort. Centre Margret Baagala put in another spectacular performance, both on attack and defence.
Uganda is turning out to be a force to be reckoned with at the World Cup in Cape Town.
They only lost by 10 goals to world champions New Zealand yesterday and beat South Africa at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to finish fifth. The She Cranes also toured third-ranked England last year, losing by the tightest of margins in three tests.
Most Valuable Player: Irene Eyaru (Uganda)
Goal Shooting Percentage: Uganda 93.7% / Trinidad & Tobago 84.6%
Penalty Count (Contact and Obstruction) : Uganda 21/ Trinidad & Tobago 63
Quarter scores: 14-11 / 33-18 / 50-27 / 74-33.