A review of the She Cranes performance in the SPAR Netball Challenge Series in Pretoria

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By Alex Charles Bossa

By the time of the final whistle for the Uganda Cranes’ AFCON loss to Malawi, the nation had little time to mourn: The She Cranes, the country’s national netball outfit were ready to wipe away the tears of Ugandan sports lovers with a splendid show against innocent Namibians in the SPAR Netball Challenge Series in Pretoria.

The tie between the She Cranes and their Namibian counterparts was the second game the Uganda netball team was featuring in for these series. They had initially squared up against the South African netball team and suffered a 49 : 34 loss. 

For long, Ugandan netball has lagged behind soccer, boxing and even rugby. It was  however a matter of time for netball to occupy a more central position in the Ugandan sports arena. The She Cranes have moved steadily overcoming hurdle by hurdle. 

 The number of netball followers keeps on increasing each day ever since the team qualified for the Netball World Cup in 2015 and the 2018 stellar performances in Liverpool where the team narrowly missed out on a semi final place in a group that had England and New Zealand.

The SPAR challenge came at a time where the world of sport was under rehabilitation from the harm caused by COVID 19. With South Africa preparing to host the 2023 World cup, there was a need for the game to restart reminding it’s loyal fans of what awaits them in the next edition of the netball world cup.

The opening game against South Africa was a match to remember with the South Africans winning 49-34. It was a game which brought up memories of the 2018 World University Netball Championship final where Uganda won with the last touch of the match.

Throughout this year’s SPAR netball tri series, games between Uganda and South Africa have been a close call though the South Africans came out victorious in all matches. The closing day loss to South Africa saw the She Cranes dominate the majority of the match only to go behind towards the end of the 3rd quarter and eventually lose 44-32 to the hosts.

The Namibians who lost all the games were the She Cranes’ source of revenge. Like a wounded Lion, the Ugandans tore apart the Namibians in all the 3 games. Voted GD of the tournament, Joan Nampugu’s player of the match performance in the first fixture against Namibia won her several admirers.

The absence of Captain Peace Proscovia did little harm to the She Cranes as goals came in with Irene Eyaru being voted the tournament’s best shooter.

Despite a difficult and draining period of Covid 19 restrictions on global sport, the She Cranes who are ranked 7th in the world present Uganda with hope of silverware soon.

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