THE national netball team has qualified for the semi-finals at the ongoing Africa World Cup qualifiers in Pretoria, South Africa after beating eSwatini 64 – 50 in a tightly contested fixture.
Team Captain Beauty Nakazwe expressed happiness after winning her second player of the match award, stating that it was team work making her shine.
Meanwhile, coach Charles Zulu says the team will capitalise on the weaknesses of Malawi when the two sides face off in the last group match tomorrow.
Zambia took the lead after a minute and half through skipper Nakazwe and Besiya Katete.
The girls ended the first quarter with a 16-12 lead, other goals coming Diana Banda and Doreen Kasehela.
eSwatini started the second quarter on fire, scoring three goals continuously before Nakazwe and Banda combined to score five in a row to go to the second break leading 33-21.
The third quarter ended with Zambia leading 49-36 and the end saw Zambia carry the day with scores 64-50.
“The game was tough and very tactical but at the end, we have carried the day. It’s an important win that has seen us book a slot into the semi-final. The target now shifts to fighting for the group top slot against Malawi on Thursday,” said Zulu.
Nakazwe said the victory against eSwatini signifies the team’s zeal to go all the way until the finals.
“We have won this game but we still have a lot of things to improve on if we are to achieve our world cup qualification dream. Booking a slot in the semi-finals gives us confidence to focus and challenge for the title. I feel good winning my second player of the match accolade because it’s no mean achievement,” Nakazwe said.
She said the target remains qualifying for the world cup and making the country proud.
“Malawi is a good side yes. We respect them but we’re here to compete and we want to finish the group strong. We know what tactics to apply when facing Malawi and we shall give our all as players,” said Nakazwe.
Meanwhile coach Zulu urged the players to remain calm and focused in order to get the desired result against Malawi tomorrow.
“We have told the players to remain calm knowing Malawi is highly ranked and a strong side. We have watched them play and we know there weaknesses. We shall capitalise on their weakness combined with our strengths,” said Zulu.