Gems recover after false start

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BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
THE Zimbabwe senior netball team secured its first win at the ongoing Pent Series in Namibia after posting a 56-46 victory against Kenya yesterday.

The Gems recovered from Monday’s 56-38 defeat at the hands of Malawi.

Although the Gems had a slow start, they managed to recover and dominated the game in the last quarter.

The two teams went for the first quarter break tied on 13 points while their second quarter ended with the Gems leading by a single point. The two teams were hardly separable as they finished the third quarter with Kenya leading 38-36.

The Gems saved their best for the last quarter, where they managed a bigger cushion especially by forcing their opponents into errors.

The introduction of Lynnet Tanhira gave Zimbabwe the cutting edge.

In an interview after the match, Gems coach Lloyd Makunde noted that the slow start was mainly due to a combination issues since they incorporated new players into the national team.

“We are feeling good, not what I could have felt if we had played better yesterday (Monday),” Makunde said.

“As you can see, we have only five players who played at the World Cup and we have seven new players, so we are still trying different new combinations, but it is coming up bit-by-bit.”

The Gems captain Felistus Kwangwa was pleased with the result.

“I am happy that we managed to win, but I am not pleased by our performance during the first three quarters. It is always dangerous to pick up during the last quarter,” Kwangwa said.

“I think Kenya gave us a tough time, they were good today. It is like they had improved compared to what they did the last time we played, it was quite different.”

This was the first match for Kenya after they forfeited points in favour of hosts Namibia due to late arrival on Monday.

The Gems are looking to take advantage of today’s game against Uganda as this tournament is used for rankings. According to world rankings which are based on the matches played up to March 30, 2021, Zimbabwe sit on 12th position, from where they hope to improve after the Pent Series.

Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo