By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA’s quest to radically impeccably improve on their continental and world netball ranking at the Diamond Challenge scheduled for South Africa from 26 November to 3 December is likely to be a mammoth task as the team’s top-notch strikers are currently nursing injuries. National netball team head coach Mansie Tjivera told Confidente there are four players not likely to feature during the Diamond Challenge and that there is a need to have substitutions in the attacking department. Following selection of the initial 25 national team hopefuls, the number will eventually be trimmed down to 12 players to represent the country. Players currently nursing injuries are Cherlyn Muese, who fractured her foot at the AFRICA Championship, as well as South African-based
Jaumbuaije ‘Bytjie’ Zauana and Vendje Katjaimo, who both concluded their university netball league with Anteria Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries. Another important player also nursing an
injury is Anna Kaspar, as well as sensational striker Dorkas Tjipetekera although it is possible
Tjipetekera will recover in time to represent the country. Tjivera said the 25 players were selected
from the annual regional Debmarine Netball Championship held in Swakopmund. Though the players called up reported for training this past weekend, the head coach said they had to release the players because of some factors like end-year exams, but he was confident they would prepare thoroughly once the players are recalled. “We do not have money to keep players
around but will certainly have a training camp two weeks before the challenge kicks off.” The head coach added that they will be working on the fitness level of players now that the domestic league concluded, which means players do not have game time and have to work on ball possession, skill and tactical approach, coupled with friendly matches. Tjivera said it is going to be hard work going forward and that Saturday’s session will only have fitness coaches attending to player’s fitness level. He thanked the Netball Namibia (NN) leadership for creating opportunities to have the senior national team compete internationally and it was an opportunity to work towards improving the team’s ranking. “All we need to do is to avoid losing by huge margins, but it is important to compete in such matters to thoroughly expose the players internationally.” Also responding to questions by Confidente, NN secretary-general Imelda Neronga said the process is still in infant stages and that there is no captain appointed yet, nor is the team confirmed. She said the Diamond Challenge will feature teams like hosts South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and that invitations were only extended to lower ranked teams in an effort to help teams in Africa improve on their ranking, where previously only well ranked teams used to participate. “It’s been almost over eight years since Namibia played South Africa, as our neighbouring country does not part-take in the Africa Championship so this opportunity opens doors for Namibia and additionally this is a ranking competition, meaning Namibia will pocket some ranking points.” “We are hoping to beat Zimbabwe and Botswana to revenge on the Zambian results. And we are also very happy to be playing Zimbabwe again… during the four-nations tournament they beat us with one point and in Zambia with 14-points and this time around we want to beat them. They are 13th in the world now and are becoming stronger way too quickly, all because they have started playing more international games,” stressed Neronga. She said playing South Africa would accord Namibia an opportunity to measure her strengths against the world’s best. She added that they are hoping to utilise the last few weeks to put up a strong team to show archrival South Africa that Namibia are indeed worthy contenders.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015