Uganda’s encounter with England’s Roses is expected to be the toughest assignment in Group D, which calls for the involvement of the She Cranes best players from the outset.
The She Cranes face England this evening at 9:00 pm
How do you solve a problem like Maria? With the confirmation that the wildly gifted Mary Nuba will start on the bench for Uganda in today’s unmissable clash with England on the opening day of Netball World Cup in Liverpool, it is a worthwhile question.
She Cranes coach Vincent Kiwanuka confirmed to New Vision Sports on Thursday that a tactical path that would see Nuba play alongside skipper Peace Proscovia had not been found following the latter’s late arrival to camp.
“If Proscovia had arrived earlier, we would have been able to work on the two of them playing them together, but now we have to play one of them at a time,” said Kiwanuka. Uganda’s encounter with England’s Roses is expected to be the toughest assignment in Group D, which calls for the involvement of the She Cranes best players from the outset.
At 6ft 7in, Nuba is easily Uganda’s tallest player, with a game good enough to earn her a contract in England’s elite outfit Loughborough Lightning. Problem is, she is a shooter just like Proscovia, who is Uganda’s skipper and one of the world’s top players in her position.
But the potential benefits of fitting Nuba and Proscovia (who is 6ft3) in the same team are obvious given the value of size and height at this level. It is why Kiwanuka admitted his ultimately futile desire to have the two towering players in the same team, with Proscovia likely moving to goal-attacker, a position currently occupied by the indefatigable Rachael Nanyonga.
The latter is an exceptional talent and wowed observers with her performance at the last World Cup and she remains a crucial piece of the She Cranes. But Nanyonga’s 5ft5 frame naturally makes it easier for longer defenders to cut out passing lanes towards and away from her.
Success at the highest level is defined by very small margins and the difference an extra inch let alone foot of height can be invaluable. Still, Kiwanuka was positive about a good performance and possible outcome against the third-seeded Roses.
“England is the strongest team in our group and the only way to scare away other teams is by beating the best team and that’s what we are aiming at,” Kiwanuka said. “We are aware of the kind of team we are going to play that’s why we have also come into the games very prepared.”
A top-two finish will see Uganda qualify to the second round of the preliminary phase.