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Singapore goes down fighting to African opponents

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Namibia take the win at the World Youth Netball Championships

28th August, Glasgow…Singapore’s 21&U team began their play-off campaign today at the World Youth Netball Championships against Namibia in an end-to-end match that had the supporters on the edge of their seats as a move into the 9th-12th play-off positions was at stake.

Namibia is a country that Singapore’s Opens team have played before in the Nations Cup but this was the first meeting of the two youth sides.

The Namibian goal shooter, Jaumbuaije Zauana, posed a problem with her height advantage over Nicolette Gan and Aquliah Afiqah in Singapore’s defence, while at the other end, the now-familiar shooting combination of Melissa Teo and Jocelyn Ng worked well around the familiar goal defence of Delila Keja who played in the Netball Super League in 2012 as part of the international player programme which is now incorporated each year.

The first quarter was all-square at 13 goals each but the second half went in Namibia’s favour giving them a five goal advantage.

The African’s played a dynamic, athletic game that we’ve become familiar with from both Namibia and Tanzania at Nations Cup, and Zauana converted several high looping passes over the shorter stature of the Singaporeans who continued to play their short, sharp passing game as much as possible.

The second half proved to be a tougher fight for Singapore as too many unforced errors crept in and Namibia stayed calm and composed to go 30-43 ahead by the end of the third quarter which proved to be decisive.

Singapore didn’t give up though and played as strongly in the final fifteen minutes as they had in the opening phase. They won the quarter 15-13 to pull back the goal difference for a final score of 45-56.

Keja admitted her time playing in Singapore was a big advantage in today’s match. She said, “I knew how Singapore play and their coach was my coach during NSL so I knew what to expect and told my team how to play against them. It definitely helped us in a tough match.”

Youngest member of the team, goal defence Aqilah Afiqah explained why she thought they lost out to Namibia. She said, “I think we lost of a bit of focus in the third quarter but I am really pleased with how we played overall and how many goals we were able to score against them. It was really tough playing against such a tall goal shooter so we had to work really hard in the middle third of the court to try and stop them getting the ball to her.

Singapore’s defeat means they move into the 13-16th placing play-offs tomorrow and will face group opponent Papua New Guinea at 18.15 (Singapore time). A convincing win against them last Friday in their opening group game (54-39) will give the team confidence ahead of this second battle as they now aim to take the 13th position from the 20 team competition.

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