Netball team wins AUSC bronze

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE national netball team edged Zambia 36-34 yesterday to win bronze in the ongoing African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games in Maseru.

Netball matches were played at the Maseru Club courts.

Lesotho qualified for the third-place play-offs after finishing third in the overall log standings out five participating countries.

This is the first national netball team to win a bronze medal at the AUSC games.

Lesotho started the tournament on a low note losing to Malawi by 40-20 in their first game before bouncing back and winning 49-25 over Botswana.

In their third game, the team was thumped 57-22 by South Africa. The hosts also went on to beat Zambia 37-26.

Yesterday the two countries were meeting for the second time in the tournament and Zambia was out for revenge.

Despite losing, Zambia led the game from the first quarter winning 7-9.  The Zambians also won the second and third quarters 10-11 and 9-10 respectively.

In the last quarter, the visitors failed to maintain their lead and Lesotho were smart enough to win the quarter 10-4.

Lesotho went into on a sorrowful note having lost assistant coach, Lisebo Tlali, on Monday after short illness. As if that was not enough, a day before the final, head coach, Munyaradzi Shanduka, was admitted in hospital with an undisclosed illness.

Acting coach, Libuseng Koenene, said they were dedicating the victory to their late assistant coach and the ailing Shanduka.

Koenene, who led the team to victory, said joining the team at the last minute ahead of crucial game wasn’t easy.

“I am happy with the win, the ladies fought until the last minute,” Koenene said.

“We did this for the nation and for our coaches. It was huge task to take over at the last minute but to the good thing is that I have been with the team all along, so I am familiar with the players.

While the players were negatively affected by the news about their coaches, they counselled them to focus.

“The players were negatively affected by what happened to their coaches but we talked to them and prepared them mentally before the game.”

Meanwhile, South Africa beat Malawi 33-26 in the final to win gold. Malawi therefore, settled for silver.

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