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Under-20 netball team win finals

Sport
ZIMBABWE held on to a slender lead in the final of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games netball championship against South Africa when they beat them 45-37 at White City Stadium yesterday to win gold.

Zimbabwe ………(23) 45 South Africa …….(20) 37

ZIMBABWE held on to a slender lead in the final of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games netball championship against South Africa when they beat them 45-37 at White City Stadium yesterday to win gold.

South Africa settled for silver while Botswana who beat Namibia 48-28 in an earlier match won the bronze medal.

“Today we had to override them from the beginning,” Ropafadzo Mutsauki, the Zimbabwean coach after the match, said.

“It is a good achievement for us because this is our firstmedal and it is a good start for the team. We told the girls to run more and attack because the South Africans are slow.netball-team

“We told them to increase their speed.”

Jenny van Dyk the South African coach said they were let down by their shooting.

“Congratulations to Zimbabwe. They did well. It was a tough match, but Zimbabwe fought hard and congratulations. We were failing to shoot and when you miss you do not get the points,” she said.

Going into the match Zimbabwe had lost to South Africa in the round robin 32-40 and they came into the match with the hope of revenging the loss.

From the onset Zimbabwe had the aim of taking an early lead, but South Africa also made certain that they make use of their centre pass keeping the game tied for the first couple of minutes in the first quarter.

Zimbabwe then took a slight lead and went to the first quarter break with a two point lead having scored 11 against nine.

In the second quarter Zimbabwe tried their best to pile on the goals with goal shooter Sharon Bwanali and lanky attacker Mercy Mukwadi getting enough shots to keep the champions in the lead.

Mukwadi scored 23 goals in the match while Bwanali was a point less with 22.

With the help of versatile centre Patricia Mauladi who kept winning the balls in the midfield despite the match being physical.

South Africa crept back into the match and for the first time after the half time break they led 27-26, but Zimbabwe’s fighting spirit was not dampened as they went on to defend and score twice before the South Africans could respond.

When South Africa were seemingly gaining enough confidence in the third quarter Simba Mlambo and Ropafadzo Mutsauki exchanged Bwanali and Mukwadi to play goal attacker and goal shooter respectively.

However this did not last long as they shifted back to their original positions. Powered by the 5 000 or so spectators that had thronged the netball arena the young players piled more misery on the South Africa.

As the whistle blew to end the match Zimbabwean players collapsed on the court in relief while some jumped with joy.