South Africa/Uganda: She Cranes Transition Faces South Africa Test

The rise and rise of Ugandan netball that has seen the national team play at the last two World Cups and the 2018 Commonwealth Games has been built on a core that is on the exit path.

Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) may not have a concrete plan to replace shooter Peace Proscovia.

Neither may they know what to do in finding long term replacements for defenders Lilian Ajio, Muhayimina Namuwaya, Florence Nanyonga and Stella Nanfuka.

Proscovia’s understudy Mary Nuba is also presently absent.

Planned or not the transition is happening subtly and that progress with be tested next week as the She Cranes go into their three-team Series in Cape Town, South Africa. Namibia complete the draw.

“I am seeing a lot of new faces on the team. This means that the team’s mainstays should be careful,” National Council of Sports general secretary Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel warned at the team’s off flag off yesterday.

The message was bold and immediately picked up by one of the team’s new gems – Hanisha Muhammed. “This is our chance as new and young players to showcase our abilities,” Muhammed said.

National team chance

“We also want to constantly be part of the national team and this is our chance to achieve it. We believe Uganda can win games against South Africa if we work harder,” she added.

The towering Muhammed, along with her under 21 national teammate Shadiah Nassanga will bolster the critical department that has captain Stella Oyella and Irene Eyaru.

The shift has also seen Sarah Nakiyonga and Susan Mamie Mukala take over from Ruth Meeme and Betty Kizza at the centre position.

The trio of Nasiimu Mutesi, Tausi Mumena and Florence Adunia will complement Joan Nampungu and Shaffie Nalwanja in defence.

However, while the goal might be gaining experience, Ogwel reminded the team about the target of remaining amongst the top 12 in order to make next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“These are ranking games and we expect the team to perform to its best to maintain Uganda’s good image in netball. The team has been fully funded by the government,” Ogwel added of the team ranked seventh in the world.

The team travels tonight aboard Ethiopian Airways. Upon arrival, head coach Rashid Mubiru expects a clean bill of health from the upcoming Covid-19 tests and then be allowed to train.

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