Proteas finish sixth at Netball World Cup

The Proteas finished sixth at the 2023 Netball World Cup. Photo: Netball South Africa via Twitter.

Heartbreak for Proteas as Uganda beat them to fifth spot at Netball World Cup

The Proteas had to settle for a sixth-place finish at their home World Cup after slumping to a shock defeat against Uganda.

Proteas finish sixth at Netball World Cup

The Proteas finished sixth at the 2023 Netball World Cup. Photo: Netball South Africa via Twitter.

An inspired Ugandan side beat the Proteas by two goals to secure fifth spot at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Sunday.

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In a rematch of their final group game just three days earlier, Proteas played Uganda in an all-African showdown for fifth place at the Netball World Cup on Sunday afternoon.

Coming into the match, Uganda were already guaranteed their highest ever finish at a Netball World Cup – their previous best being seventh place in 2019 – and they took another massive step up in 2023, dethroning the Proteas as the top side in Africa to secure fifth spot with a 49-47 victory on Sunday.

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The Ugandans came out showing their intent, turning over the first centre pass and racing to a four-goal lead before the South Africans could register on the scoreboard. Multiple unforced errors from the jittery Proteas saw them losing unnecessary possession and they spent much of the first period playing catchup. By the first break, the hosts had managed to close that gap to just one goal.

Proteas coach Norma Plummer switched Bongi Msomi to wing attack and the taller Izette Griesel to centre at the start of the second quarter as the South Africans slowly started swinging the momentum in their favour. But while the defenders earned plenty of turnovers – Jeanté Strydom particularly impressive in stealing two centre passes – the Proteas’ attack struggled to convert those into goals.

Uganda continued to throw everything at the home side, with goal attack Shadiah Nassanga eventually receiving a warning for repeated obstruction just before haltftime, which the teams reached all tied up at 23-23.

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The She Cranes came out looking the hungrier of the two sides in the third quarter which proved to be the decisive one. They took their time in their own attack, with Mary Cholhok and Irene Eyaru doing the business in the circle, and made the Proteas work hard for their goals.

The Ugandan defence did an excellent job of putting pressure on the usually reliable Nichole Taljaard, the star of South Africa’s draw with New Zealand earlier in the week. The goal attack was not at her best, throwing away plenty of ball and was pressured into taking fewer shots than normal.

Uganda headed into the final break with their noses in front but the Proteas managed to level matters at 40-40. The home team couldn’t push on from there, however. Yet another unforced error from the South Africans allowed Uganda to edge ahead and this time they didn’t look back, surging five goals in front at one stage.

The She Cranes still held a two-goal lead heading into the final two minutes, and they slowed things right down, looking to hold on to possession to wind down the clock, and so securing a memorable 49-47 victory.

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Uganda beat Proteas to fifth-place finish at Netball World Cup
Uganda beat the Proteas to a fifth-place finish at the Netball World Cup. Photo: @NetballWorld via Twitter.