The Big Improvers

The Big Improvers

By |2018-03-27T22:00:42+10:00March 27th, 2018|Categories: Commonwealth Games 2018, World|0 Comments

Uganda

World ranking: 7th
Previous Commonwealth Games results: First appearance.
Commonwealth Games win/loss record: N/A

 

Uganda will be a team to watch at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

They’ve rocketed up the world rankings recently, rising from 15th to seventh in just four years. It’s been an impressive feat from the African nation, who are under resourced financially compared to many of the top ranked countries.

Despite limited facilities and opportunities to play against similarly ranked nations, the She Cranes will target a higher placing than their eighth from the 2015 Netball World Cup.

For the Commonwealth Games they’ve been placed in Pool B, coming up against New Zealand (World number 2), England (3), Malawi (6), Wales (10) and Scotland (9). While New Zealand and England will most likely be a class above, the remaining four teams should feature in some closely contested matches, with perhaps some surprising results.

One of the keys to Uganda’s success is their experienced captain, Peace Proscovia, who became the first Ugandan player to move overseas to play netball. The 193cm player is a prolific goal shooter and was the highest scorer during the 2017 U.K. Superleague. She was absent from the She Cranes in the most recent international series against Barbados due to commitments with her Loughborough Lightning team in England.

Unfortunately, Proscovia is one of the few tall players in the Ugandan side – at the 2015 World Cup their team’s average height was just 169 cm. This lack of height is an issue, particularly in defence against the towering shooters of some other nations. However, the She Cranes are entertaining to watch, with their athletic, determined and at times, unpredictable game plans.

Proscovia believes that the team’s greatest test will come from the limited amount of technical support they have.

“Not knowing the game plans of our close competitors will be one of the greatest challenges. However, as a team we perform under any condition because we are self-motivated athletes who believe that success does not come on a silver plate. Therefore, no matter what comes our way we are determined and never give up on our dreams.”

It is this attitude of succeeding despite obstacles that will serve the She Cranes well.

Team manager, Jocelyn Ucanda, recognises that attending their first ever Commonwealth Games will be an enormous challenge for the She Cranes, given their lack of experience in this format. However, to participate will be enormously prestigious for the team, and help their battle for recognition and funding.

“Playing at a tournament like the Commonwealth Games means everything. Having been at the World Cup in that amazing country (Australia) and then back again it is an endorsement that we can make it. Australia is a big stage for most elite sports so it is an elevation for the She Cranes and Uganda as a country.”

“Nothing is so exciting like the joy of standing out there to represent your nation. It’s a great honour and pleasure.” said Proscovia.

Proscovia leads by example and is an exciting player to watch. She will be supported in the circle by Rachael Nanyonga, one of the She Cranes more experienced players.

Ruth Meme, a midcourter, is returning from maternity leave and didn’t play with the She Cranes when they went through last year’s African Championships undefeated. At the time she was replaced by exciting youngster Betty Kizza (2017 World Youth Cup), who has made the transition to the senior side.

 

Commonwealth Games team
Peace Proscovia (c)
Lillian Ajio
Betty Kizza
Ruth Meme
Hadijah Nakabuye
Halima Nakachwa
Joan Nampungu
Muhayimina Namuwaya
Stella Nanfuka
Florence Nanyonga
Rachael Nanyonga
Stella Oyella
Coach: Imelda Nyongesa

Last five international results:
Uganda def Barbados 48-40 (2018)
Uganda lost to Barbados 38-42 (2018)
Uganda def Barbados 46-28 (2018)
Uganda def Zambia 67-50 (2017)
Uganda def Zimbabwe 61-45 (2017)

About the Author:

Physiotherapist, writer and netball enthusiast. Feature articles, editorials and co-author of "Shine: the making of the Australian Netball Diamonds". Everyone has a story to tell, and I'm privileged to put some of them on paper. Thank you to the phenomenal athletes, coaches and people in the netball world who open a door to their lives, and let me tiptoe in.

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