The Netball World Cup kicks off on Friday 12 July, in the city of Liverpool, England, and the African continent will be represented by four teams including Uganda, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Over the course of the one week long tournament that ends on the 21 of July, 16 teams will compete to take the crown of World Champions, that is currently held by the Australia Diamonds.
The other teams at the World Cup are hosts England, Barbados, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand and Northern Ireland. Samoa, Scotland, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago and Sri Lanka are the other teams featuring at this year’s tournament.
This is the 15th time the Netball World Cup, which is held every four years is being stages. The M&S Arena in Liverpool will host all the games.
South Africa is Africa’s top team, ranked number 5 in the world, followed by Uganda who are 6th in current world rankings. Malawi and Zimbabwe are 9th and 13th respectively.
The captains of the African teams are Malawi’s Joanna Kachilika, South Africa’s Bongiwe Msomi, Uganda’s Peace Proscovia and Zimbabwe’s Pepe Siyachitema. They will be hoping to lead their teams to a maiden World Cup trophy for country and continent.
- Group A: Australia, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka
- Group B: New Zealand, Malawi, Barbados, Singapore*
- Group C: Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji
- Group D: England, Scotland, Uganda, Samoa
We spoke to Yvonnie Akonda Sundu, our correspondent in Malawi, to guide us through the chances of Africa’s representatives bringing the Netball World Cup home.
Who are the African stars that are likely to make a difference at the World Cup?
For Uganda, the main player is Peace Proscovia. The 29-year old goal shooter is close to unstoppable and will provide an incredible target in attack. South Africa has Karla Pretorius, who is quite simply one of the best players in the world at the moment. Malawi’s national team will have a huge task one playing without playmaker Mwayi Kumwenda, who is nursing an injury. Kumwenda was the player of the tournament at the 2015 World Cup and her influence on this team is so immense.
What are the chances that an African team will go all the way and bring the trophy home?
Zimbabwe are the new entrants in the competition and they are in Group A. They are something of an unknown quality and will look to capitalise on that against higher ranked teams. Malawi is the only African team in Group B and will face stiff competition from New Zealand and Brabados. While the Queens best record remains finishing 5th in the world and 1st in Africa in 2007, it is very unlikely that they will finish in the top 7. Group three has South Africa who have a mammoth task of needing to beat either England or Jamaica to make it to the semi-final. But the Proteas have the best chance in 25 years of winning a medal due to the strength of the current squad. Uganda is the fourth and the last African country at the Netball World Cup, and they are in Group D where they are facing teams like England and Scotland. They are the darling of the Commonwealth Games and hope to continue where they left off in 2015 in the previous World Cup, where they finished 8th.
How celebrated is Netball on the African continent and globally?
Surprisingly, most of the countries that do not do well in football, they have strong netball teams. Look at Malawi, our football team is not that good, and look at Uganda, look at countries like South Africa, they try so hard but at the end of the day, they don’t bring the much needed results. Yet netball-wise, these teams are doing very team, we are looking at these teams being at the World Cup.