In the first match of the final day of the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023) Qualifiers in Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia battled it out to determine who get the nod to NWC2023.
It was an unsettled start for both teams, with unforced errors creeping in throughout the court. However, as the nerves settled midway into the first quarter, it was Zimbabwe that took the marginal lead as they began to find their clinical shooters with ease.
With five minutes to go of the first 15, Zambia made changes in their defensive circle to try and control Zimbabwe’s shooters, but it was the Zimbabwe Gems that remained on top at the first break 16 – 12.
Zambia came out in the second quarter much stronger tightening up in defence again, closing the gap to one goal in the opening two minutes to 17-16.
The quarter continued to be closely contested with Zambia delaying Zimbabwe’s feeds into the attacking circle to prevent them running away with the lead. Reacting to this the Gem’s made a change at goal attack which helped to restore their quick feeds into the circle and allowed them to regain their four goal lead, leaving the score at 30 – 26 at half-time.
With only 4 goals in it, it was all still to play for in the second-half and with a place in the NWC2023 on the line it was clear both teams weren’t going to give up.
However, in the championship third quarter Zimbabwe built on their strong first-half dominating throughout court, and extending their lead to 11-goals.
From there is proved too much for Zambia to come-back into the game, meaning Zimbabwe took the win, 59 – 41, finishing 3rd in the NWC2023 Qualifiers-Africa, and qualifying for the NWC2023 as the final team from the Africa region joining Malawi who qualified when they reached the final and South Africa who pre-qualified as hosts.
African reps for 2023 Netball World Cup