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South Africa and Uganda set up all-African battle for fifth place at the Netball World Cup

Uganda beat Malawi and South Africa got the better of Tonga in their Netball World Cup 2023 play-off matches at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

That means the She Cranes and Proteas will play off for fifth place on Sunday, while Malawi will take on Tonga to decide seventh and eighth.

To find out where you can watch all the matches live and on demand from the NWC2023, click here.

Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:

UGANDA 57 - 46 MALAWI

Uganda recorded their first victory ever over Malawi at a Netball World Cup when they defeated their opponents 57-46 at the tournament in Cape Town on Friday.

With the win, the She Cranes advanced to Sunday’s fifth-place playoff which means regardless of the result, they will achieve their highest placing at a Netball World Cup.

Their previous highest placing in their three other tournament appearances was seventh place in 2019 in Liverpool.  

Despite an initial four-goal lead by Uganda and pressure from the She Cranes, the Malawi Queens started playing with more confidence with some well-executed moves and drives down court.

The Queen’s Goal attack Mwai Kumwenda commanded the circle, keeping her space well to take her team to within one goal.

Goal shooter Joyce Mvula scored the equalising goal in the last minute of the first quarter and landed another one soon after to put Malawi one up. Uganda got one back, and the score reached 14-all.  

At the start of the second quarter, Mvula landed two goals in quick succession to hand Malawi the lead again. It wasn’t to last though as the She Cranes overtook them once again.  

After initially struggling to keep away from Malawi goalkeeper Loreen Ngwira, Uganda goal shooter Mary Cholhok sank four goals on the trot to give her team a 28-23 lead at halftime.  

Uganda had the lion’s share of possession in the second quarter with 64 per cent and continued on the same trajectory in the third too, continuing to dominate Malawi in the third.

Uganda enjoyed a healthy 43-35 lead heading into the final 15 minutes, and the She Cranes kept the distance between themselves and the Queens, not allowing their opponents to get any grip on the match. 

With five minutes remaining, Uganda were 10 points clear and made certain of advancing to play for the fifth/sixth position on Sunday.  

SOUTH AFRICA 72 - 46 TONGA

Hosts South Africa took on Tonga on Friday in the battle to determine who will meet Uganda in the playoff for fifth place at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning captain, Siya Kolisi, was among the vocal home crowd cheering for their side and willing them to a 72-46 victory.

The opening quarter was a tight one, with the teams remaining neck and neck throughout.

The Proteas were turning plenty of ball, but their shooters were struggling to settle in the circle.

Ine-Mari Venter converted only five of her nine shots before being replaced by Elmeré van der Berg towards the end of the period.

Even the usually reliable Nichole Taljaard finished the first quarter with a 67 per cent shooting average at goal attack, although she improved that considerably in the rest of the match.

At the other end, former Silver Ferns star Cat Tuivaiti was shooting at 100 per cent at goal shooter for Tonga, as was her goal attack Marie Hansen, meaning the Tongan Tala kept up with the Proteas to reach the first quarter break level on 12-12.

It was a different story in the second quarter, however, as Van der Berg made sure the South Africans’ efforts on defence were rewarded.

The young goal shooter fired in 14 of her 14 attempts while Taljaard also settled to slot in all of her efforts.

Tonga brought on veteran former Australian Diamond Mo’onia Gerrard at goalkeeper 12 minutes into the second quarter to try and steady the flow, but she couldn’t prevent the South Africans from taking a seven-goal lead into halftime.

The SPAR Proteas continued to build on that momentum in the third quarter, moving the ball down the court with ease, and finding Van der Berg in the circle.

That saw them extending their lead to 11 goals by the final break.

Having had a significant lead against Uganda whittled down in the final period a day earlier, the Proteas were determined not to allow a repeat scenario against Tonga.

South African coach Norma Plummer made multiple changes in the final minutes brining on Khanyisa Chawane, Owethu Ngubane, Shadine van der Merwe and Nicola Smit, as the Proteas continued to storm ahead, winning the quarter by 25 goals to 10 and securing their place in Sunday’s fifth-place playoff with a 72-46 victory.

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