The Zimbabwean netball team continues to make history at the World Cup. The debutants who had to crowd fund for the trip to Liverpool England have been nothing but impressive.
The Southern African team beat Northern Ireland in a thrilling contest but both teams go through to the second round of the World Cup after a 51-49 win to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean Gems as they are fondly known finished second in the group which is led by current champions Australia.
This means that the top three progress with Sri Lanka bottom after a heavy defeat by champions Australia.
Northern Ireland held a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter but it was level at half-time and going into the final quarter.
Zimbabwe edged a thrilling contest to finish second behind Australia.
Shooting accuracy proved to be the difference between the sides with Zimbabwe at 96% compared with 79% for Northern Ireland.
Speaking after the game Northern Ireland coach Dan Ryan said.
“This was a gutting way to finish the game but in terms of the spectacle and quality of netball it was a great game to be a part of.”
“There’s a lesson to learn in trust. It’s what the World Cup is all about. Our players stopped trusting in each other.
“You lose faith in your team-mate and that’s so important. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
“I’m incredibly disappointed. I think we should have won that game.”
It was only the second-ever World Cup victory for the 13th-ranked Zimbabwe team.
“I can’t express myself. I’m overwhelmed,” said Zimbabwe coach Lloyd Makunde.
“It was built on teamwork and teamwork really prevailed today. We are ready to take on anyone and we will get as far as we possibly can.”
The Zimbabwean netball team has received incredible support from Zimbabweans based in the U.K. and they have generated great interest in the sport that was previously ignored in Zimbabwe.
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