Namibia’s Desert Jewels dominated the first three quarters before squandering the decisive final quarter of the match as they went down 49-50 against a resilient Zimbabwean side during their second Africa Netball Championship clash at the Wanderers indoor courts yesterday in Windhoek.
The Desert Jewels, as the country’s senior netball side is affectionately known, started the match off strongly, winning the first quarter 18-13, the second quarter 29-25 and the third quarter 40-37, as all indicators pointed to a smooth victory for the Namibians.
However, the introduction of two substitutes, a change of tactics and loss of rhythm saw the Namibians recklessly opening up to the attacking Zimbabweans, who came from behind to dominate the fourth quarter on their way to a shock 50-49 win over the host country.
In yesterday’s post-match interview, Namibian coach Julene Meyer said she was happy with how the team played, in general, but admitted some tactical errors and loss of focus in the final quarter contributed to their defeat.
“I must say the girls worked much harder today, and the combinations worked really well – but the Zimbabweans are a very physical side – and that gave us a bit of problems. We started very well, and followed the game plan well, but you also know that when the top-ranked teams are under pressure, they get very physical with their play – and that is what happened today. But those are things we can work on going into the next game,” said Meyer.
Namibia, who started their Africa Netball Championship campaign with a 50-41 win over Botswana on Tuesday, will again be in action today, as they will be seeking redemption against a top-ranked Ugandan side.