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Young Proteas strike gold

By Gareth Duncan in Lusaka, Zambia

The South African U20 netball team thrashed Botswana 80-22 to secure a gold medal at the Zone VI Games.

There were glorious scenes at the National Sports Development Centre netball courts as South Africa celebrated their victory, which saw them edge tournament favourites and defending champions Malawi to first place on the log thanks to a superior overall goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded).

This was after South Africa recorded a big win over Botswana, while Namibia did enough damage to Malawi’s goal average in a 76-30 loss.

Head coach Selloane Mosoahle said this was sweet revenge as South Africa came second at the 2010 Zone VI Games after losing to Malawi by one goal in the final in Swaziland.

‘In 2010, we had a group phase and knockout play-offs – and we lost to Malawi twice,’ Mosoahle told RoadtoRio.co.za. ‘But after drawing against Malawi [29-29] in the first round of this year’s league tournament, we knew we had what it took to win gold.

‘The girls felt the pressure heading into the last round, but I told them that they needed to be calm. With Namibia scoring 30 goals against Malawi, we felt confident. Our main focus was on Botswana and the team pulled through.’

Goal scorer Danelle Willemse was the Player of the Match against Botswana, as her height and strength caused plenty of problems for the opposition defence. She was the target up front and scored most of the team’s goals.

The win over Botswana completed a four-match winning steak as South Africa beat Zambia (59-29), Lesotho (103-4) and Namibia (55-27) earlier in the tournament.

Captain Zandre Kruger lauded her team’s tournament campaign.

‘Malawi have called themselves the African Queens for a long time now,’ said Kruger. ‘But today, we proved that we are the champions of Africa.

‘With the senior netball team doing very well internationally, we felt inspired to do the same. This Zone VI Games gold medal proves that South African netball is strong and will continue to grow.’


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