NWC 2023: Uganda 73 – Wales 56
Uganda delivered yet another commanding performance at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they defeated Wales 73-56 in a Pool G encounter.
The day began with news from the She Cranes camp that Norah Lunkuse and Christine Namulumba had been replaced by Viola Asingo (injury) and Sarah Nakiyunga (medical reasons). During the match several on-court changes were also made as a result of players feeling dizzy. After the match Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa suggested it was as a result of malaria.
Goal shooter Mary Cholhok was once again a pillar of strength for Uganda, playing the first three quarters and converting 42 of her 44 shots. Her play has greatly improved since participating in the Super League in the UK. She commanded the circle with nifty footwork and accurate shooting. Both teams came out with the same seven in the second quarter. Despite being not entirely satisfied with his side’s defensive effort, Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa kept faith in Stella Nanfuka and Christine Nakitto as their work in the Wales circle kept them in the lead.
Uganda made their first change just before halftime when Lilian Achola replaced Margret Baagala (suspected malaria) at centre. At 1.58 cm Achola is the shortest player at the World Cup. The She Cranes had a nine-goal lead (36-27) when the hooter sounded after the first two quarters.
Wales switched Ella Powell-Davies to goal defence and introduced Christina Shaw on goalkeeper in the third quarter in an effort to stem the flow of quality ball to Cholhok. It didn’t seem to bother the She Cranes star too much though as she continued with the business at hand – keeping her team in front.
At the other end of the court, Uganda defenders Nakitto and Falidah Kadondi, who replaced Nanfuka, didn’t give the Welsh shooters any breathing space. They restricted their movement and kept scoring opportunities to a minimum.
Having done enough to help her team to a healthy lead, Cholhok remained on the Uganda bench at the start of the last 15 minutes with Viola Asingo replacing her under the post. Baagala also came back at centre.
The teams shared the spoils in the third quarter (15-all) but that didn’t prevent Uganda from scoring their first victory over Wales in a World Cup.
Speaking after the match, a satisfied Uganda coach, Fred Mugerwa, said: “It’s good because that’s what we wanted. We didn’t want to lose a game to Wales because, first of all, it would spoil our ranking. We just wanted to have that game so we remain where we are.”
On Baagala who is suffering from a suspected case of malaria, Mugerwa added: “We hope that by tomorrow she will be fully recovered. That was the main reason we substituted her because she was dizzy because of the medicine she is taking, but I think by tomorrow she will have recovered to be able to continue playing properly.”
Wales goal attack Phillipa Yarranton said it was a tough match.
“Any ball we lost today, they converted straight away and we also needed to slow things down. Personally, I had a few errors and I can’t afford to miss that many shots in a game. It’s back to the drawing board and focusing on the next game. There’s not a lot of time before tomorrow’s match against Trinidad and Tobago, so it will be an early night.”
Q2: 36-27 (21-15)
Q3: 58-41 (22-14)
Q4: 73 -56 (15-15)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Shaffie Nalwanja (Uganda)