Gems suffer crashing defeat 

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Netball
BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
Zimbabwe senior netball team, the Gems, suffered a crashing 78-27 defeat to South Africa in a African Netball Cup match on Tuesday.
The tournament kicked off on Tuesday in Namibia following the Pent Series that ended last week Friday at the same venue.
Although the Gems started the match on a good note, managing to take a 4-1 lead in the first few minutes and also managing to make remarkable interceptions, the South African side quickly made a quick recovery and dominated till the last quarter.
The teams went for a first quarter break leading by a narrow margin of 16-1 before the gap widened up a bit in the second quarter where the Proteas were leading 35-21.
The third quarter was the worst for the Gems as they only netted two scores whilst their opponents scored 23 goals. Failure of the Gems to utilise the opportunities was their biggest undoing.
The Gems Coach Lloyd Makunde said he was impressed by his side’s performance especially before half time, as they managed to display a better performance compared to the Pent Series.
“They are good enough to play anyone in Africa but I think we gave them (South Africa) too much respect and we had too many unforced errors,” said Makunde.
“We need to adjust to what the umpires want on the day and we didn’t do that today. But on the physical aspect, I think South Africa was more physical than us and we didn’t fight back, we gave in.”
As they prepare to face hosts Namibia on Wednesday, Makunde and Gems captain Felistus Kwangwa noted that there was need to stick to their game plan.
“We played Namibia before, we won but we have to be cautious because they also want to win against us. So we are going to play our normal game, the one we played against them and hopefully we will be victorious,” said Makunde.
Kwangwa also highlighted that she was pleased by the teams’ performance against South Africa considering that the team is now dominated by new players.
“I feel so happy to rub shoulders with one of the best teams in Africa. I think we gave them a good run in our first quarter then we lapsed from the second quarter up to the last,” said Kwangwa.
“Of course we introduced new players. We are focusing on team re-building in preparations for the World Cup,” she said.
Follow Magreth on Twitter @ MagrethRuzvidzo