NETBALL WORLD YOUTH CUP 2017
Fiji 39 Uganda 37
Uganda’s hopes of advancing to the last-four of the Netball World Youth Cup came to a screeching halt at the hands of Fiji in a 37-39 defeat Thursday afternoon in Gaborone, Botswana.
Uganda raced into an early lead in the first quarter in which they had put their opponents under the cosh; a careless run in the second quarter saw them reeled in by the very efficient Fijian circle defence, finishing the half at 17-17.
The match became so tight in the second half that at some point it was neck-to-neck for most of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was where the girls in blue made their move to pull away; they scored seven goals on the trot from 30-30 to 37 before Uganda could attempt a reply.
Irene Eyaru paired Sharifah Nalunkuma in goal shooter position where she enjoyed a rich vein of form especially at the beginning of the match.
It’s only after Fiji’s late second quarter attacking onslaught that cracks started appearing in Uganda’s own attacking play.
Due to the physical disparity, Uganda was forced to play a patient passing game to try and counter their opponents' high pressing.
The pressure from the Fijians left the Ugandans in a latch and Coach Nelson Bogere made a couple of hasty positional changes in the second half that ended up hurting the team.
He brought goal shooter Zam Seera from goal attack and sent her to goal keeper which worked well in the match against Jamaica but against Fiji, she became error-prone.
She was clearly wet behind the ears in defence which is why the tall lass found herself sin-binned for two minutes with four minutes to go and at a time when Uganda was trailing 31-33.
Uganda managed to pull a few back even in Seera's absence but it was a little too late. The Pearls will still take to the court on Friday as the battle for finishing places in the top eight is still on.