WINDHOEK – Namibia’s senior netball team, the Desert Jewels, will today take to the courts to confront East African nation Uganda for their opening match of the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers, which officially kicked late yesterday.
The Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers, which are underway in Lusaka, Zambia, will serve as Africa’s qualification tournament to next year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, which will mark the 15th edition of the quadrennial global netball showpiece.
Speaking to Nampa ahead of the team’s departure for Lusaka, Namibia’s mentor Mannsie Tjivera confidently said: “The team is really excited, the energy as well as the hype can be felt and the girls are really ready to compete because they know what’s in it for them. The team is gelling well and our two South African-based players also joined the team on time. So, everything is going well. Our goal still remains the same as we want to finish in the top three and we have a full squad which means we will give it our all in Zambia.”
After today’s clash against Uganda, the Namibian girls will move on to face another East African country, Kenya tomorrow, in what is expected to be a thrilling between the two countries.
On August 16, the girls from the Land of the Brave will take to the court to confront Zimbabwe for their third clash of the qualifiers. Namibia will then proceed to face a stern test against dangerous Malawi on August 17, before concluding their campaign with a clash against neighbours Botswana on August 18.
Sixteen teams will contest next year’s World Cup, with five countries having already automatically qualified by virtue of their high ranking position in the International Netball Federation (INF) World Rankings, with the exception of England who qualify as the host nation.
The remaining ten teams will qualify via regional qualification tournaments, such as next month’s Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers, with two teams selected from each of the five international netball regions – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania – securing their place in Liverpool.
The five teams (six if England is included) that qualified automatically are Australia, England, New Zealand, Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi. – Adapted from Nampa