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Netball

Uganda, defending champions South Africa in interesting pools ahead of University Netball Championships

The Uganda Netball team, She Cranes won the just concluded African Championships in Zambia (file photo)

KAMPALA – The 2018 World University Netball Championship has drawn up interesting battles among some of the highly rated netball playing countries in the World.

According to the draws that were conducted on Monday at the headquarters of international university sports, based in Lausanne, the hosts Uganda were placed in a potentially explosive Pool A that also has USA, Singapore and rivals Kenya.

Defending champions South Africa are favourites to win Pool B that also has Namibia, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals, while the bottom two will head into the playoffs.

 Breakdown of each team in Pool A:

Uganda (International ranking): 7th
There will be immense interest in how Team Uganda will perform at the championship considering the country’s recent performances in international netball competitions.

The hosts will be motivated by Uganda She Cranes’ performance at the Commonwealth Games and Africa Netball Championship in Australia and Zambia respectively.

Uganda bowed out of the 2018 Commonwealth Games with an inspiring sixth place finish in Gold coast and won the just concluded African Championships held in Zambia.

USA (International ranking): Not ranked
In 2012, Netball America (NA) President Sonya Ottoway said they struggled to put together a team, and had to travel far and wide to find eligible players to play in the inaugural World University Netball Championships (WUNC) in Cape Town.

But over the years, the team has come of age. NA worked out a contract with Miami Dade County education authority in Florida to start netball programs in the 350 elementary and high schools in the county.

They also launched netball programs in more than 400 community sports centers run by the New York City Housing Authority. This helped NA assemble competent teams at all levels for international engagements.

Singapore (International ranking): 21st
Singapore has several national squads: Opens-21 and Under-19 and Under (Post School), 19 and Under (Schools), 17 and under, and 14 and under.

The national team competed in its first major tournament in 1967 at the Netball World Championships.

Singapore had a national team compete in the fifth Asian Netball Championships held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2001. They also competed in the 7th Asian Youth Netball Championship held in 2010 in India. As of June 30 2018, the women’s national team was ranked number seventeenth in the world.

Kenya (International ranking): Not ranked
In Kenya, netball is primarily played by women and primarily played in rural areas. A school sought to build four netball courts at their school in 1950. Some girls played netball after school during the 1980s.

Netball programs were being run by schools in the late 1990s though there were few opportunities for adult players after they completed school. The Kenyan national team has just resumed playing international netball after several years in the wilderness.

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