Desert Jewels start tourney in brilliant form… Kasper nets 34 goals from 39 attempts
Carlos Kambaekwa Windhoek-Hosts Namibia fired a stern warning to their opponents when a relatively under-strength team opened their assault in the Debmarine Pent Netball Series with a dominant display in their opening match at the Israel Patrick Iyambo Police College Courts in Windhoek yesterday. In what can be described tongue-in-cheek as one of the finest displays by a local side at any level witnessed in our neck of the woods in a long time – the Namibian senior netball side got off to a good start in the three-day tourney. Namibia sent a stubborn Swaziland packing with a sizeable scoreline of 51 baskets to 34 to win an otherwise electrifying match that had the partisan crowd on the edge of their seats. The fired-up hosts were three goals to the good in the opening five minutes via the faultless hands of Anna Kasper, but some wayward shooting from the usually accurate Toko Tjipetekera kept the scoreboard low. With the cat-footed centre Uahengisa Tjozongoro, 20, at the heart of Namibia’s most attacks - the hosts were able to take a slender two-goal cushion at the end of the first quarter (10-8). Coach Toetsie Kambatuku-Tjihero soon hauled off the ineffective Tjipetekera, who could only managed six goals from 11 attempts, sending on Vendjii Katjaimo instead, but her replacement also seemed to have forgotten her shooting skills at home. The latter wasted numerous and inviting goal-scoring opportunities at the slightest provocation – leaving the hoop-rattling duties on the tiny shoulders of Kasper. The visitors were the first to draw blood, reducing the deficit immediately after the restart, but Kasper had other ideas and rattled the basket four times in succession to increase Namibia’s lead to 13–0. The Swazis responded by maximising their turnover ball – only to find themselves 10 goals down going into the 3rd quarter (24-14). Veteran playmaker Glyneth Vetjevera Kazonganga dictated terms in the middle of the court with accurate passes to her firing line and while the hosts failed to convert dozens of appetizing goal scoring opportunities with the hoop begging, the visitors were more clinical in front of goal with their finishing at the other end of the court. Technically, Swaziland were a mile ahead of their hosts, although elementary handling overshadowed an otherwise good buildup in the final quarter. Excellent defending by strongly built Diana Tjejamba kept the hosts firmly in the driving seat, as Namibia took a comfortable 32-26 lead going into the decisive final quarter. With the enterprising Kasper turning on the screws, Namibia stepped up a gear as fatigue started to derail the visitors’ sustained resilience – allowing Namibia to rain goals at will, with Kasper the chief destroyer as the hosts recorded a rare runaway victory (51-34) to claim their first convincing victory in as many years at international level. In other netballing action yesterday, Zimbabwe defeated Botswana by 52 goals to 40. Apart from hosts Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe complete the lineup in the five-nation round robin five-day tourney. Namibia returns to action to confront Zambia in their second match at the same venue at 17h00 today.
2017-09-07 10:56:01 1 years ago