Uganda’s National Netball team, the She Cranes, marked a triumphant start to the ongoing Netball World Cup in South Africa with a victory over Singapore. Making its fourth World Cup appearance, the She Cranes outplayed the Singaporeans in all quarters, dominating the match and securing an impressive 79-37 victory at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.
In a surprising tactical move, She Cranes’ head coach, Fred Mugerwa, decided to rest team captain Irene Eyaru and towering goal shooter Mary Nuba, opting instead to allow Shadia Nassanga and Hanisha Muhammed to shine in the goal-attacking and shooting positions, respectively. This decision proved to be a stroke of brilliance, as the substitutes rose to the occasion, leaving the coach gratified with their stellar performance.
Right from the beginning, the She Cranes demonstrated their prowess, establishing a commanding 22-09 lead by the end of the first quarter. Unfazed by their initial advantage, the Ugandan team continued to hold their ground, skillfully neutralizing their opponents’ physicality and intensifying the pace of the game.
Thanks to these tactical manoeuvres, the Ugandan girls extended their lead to 42-18 by the conclusion of the second quarter. Margaret Baagala, who delivered a great performance, starting at Centre before being switched to Wing Attack in the second half, was named the player of the match.
During the break, Mugerwa made a couple of changes, reintroducing Nuba and Eyaru for Muhammed and Nassanga, respectively, while Lillian Achola came on for Lunkuse, and Farida Kadondi replaced Nanfuka.
The She Cranes maintained their momentum and ended the third quarter with a commanding 62-29 lead, ultimately adding 17 more points in the final quarter to secure their 79-37 victory. Muhammed was the highest goal scorer with 31 successful attempts out of 35, while Margaret Baagala’s outstanding performance earned her the Player of the Match award.
Buoyed by their triumph over Singapore, Uganda’s next challenge will be against the reigning World Champions, New Zealand, who secured a convincing 76-27 win against Trinidad and Tobago in their opening game. Uganda competes in Group D alongside defending champions New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad, and Tobago.
Speaking to journalists after the game, coach Fred Mugerwa expressed that their primary target is reaching the knockout rounds, and a strong start in the opening game will undoubtedly boost their ambitions.
Hanisha Muhammad, who contributed the most goals for Uganda, emphasized the significance of winning the first game, as it sets the tone for their overall performance in the tournament.