When the She Cranes go up against England today, in their 2019 Netball World Cup opener in Liverpool, they will boast of three players, that have won a World Cup before.
Mary Nuba, Joan Nampungu and Betty Kizza were among the stars on Uganda’s netball team, which won the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Netball championship last year in September, when they defeated the defending champions South Africa 44-43. Nuba, Kizza and Nampungu were on that team, in their first international tournament with the She Cranes.
The trio are now with the national team in Liverpool. But can their winning experience rub off the rest of the team, and inspire a landmark, and probably the most memorable display by the She Cranes at the grand stage of netball?
“Hahahaha,” Nuba laughed, when this was suggested, during one of the She Cranes last training sessions, before they flew out to England.
“Honestly, I cannot say,” Nuba, who was one of the most outstanding performers at the World University Netball Championship said.
Nonetheless, Nuba, who looked bemused about the suggestion, probably because it was out of the blue, said that it was important they go into the Netball World Cup with a positive mindset.
And that can only be carried from the international experiences and outings they have had recently. However, without getting carried away, the She Cranes have to take one game at a time, Nuba noted.
“Of course our target is to win every game. And if we do that, we have a good chance of being successful at the World Cup. We have to believe in ourselves and also fight in every match, to ensure, that we get the wins, that can take us as high as possible in the tournament.”
Although Nuba was reluctant to commit on whether the She Cranes can win the Netball World Cup, she acknowledges, that their rise in world rankings points to how far they have come, and are capable of doing. Uganda has won the last two Africa Netball Championships in 2017 (Kampala) and 2018 (Lusaka).
In fact, it is the 2018 triumph, that secured Uganda’s qualification to the 2019 netball World Cup. Uganda were unbeaten in the tournament, winning all their six games. Such was their ruthlessness, that saw them also put their biggest challenger Zimbabwe to the sword 66-51, that ended their unbeaten run on the final day.