New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Desert Jewels in Narrow Loss Against Sri Lanka

Singapore — Day two of the 7th edition of the annual Nations Cup was another action-packed affair with three tough battles at Toa Payoh Sports Hall in Singapore yesterday.

Following their well-earned victory against Ireland in their opening match, Namibia's Desert Jewels were the first on court against Sri Lanka in yesterday's action.

The Asian side came out with guns blazing and took the first quarter 15-18 and extended their slender lead to 32-37 at halftime. The 2nd half was a closely contested affair and it was the Namibians who took the 3rd quarter by a solitary goal.

The Desert Jewels held the lead into the dying minutes of the match, but failed to block out crucial balls into Sri Lanka's shooting circle, which proved suicidal. The tie finished 65-69 - leaving the rejuvenated Namibians very disappointed not to have continued with their winning form. When the two sides met in 2011, it was a very different affair with Namibia winning 77-49.

Namibia were solid in defence and looked confident in the attacking play, but struggled to deal with Sri Lanka's lanky goal shooter Sivalingam, who recorded an amazing 97% shooting average, scoring 66 goals from 68 attempts.

Namibian coach, Marcha Myburgh, took note of the vast improvement in their opposition.

"Sri Lanka have improved immensely since last year but we are very disappointed to lose today. Besides the height of their shooter being a real thorn in the flesh for us, we made too many silly mistakes. We did what we had planned to do but it just didn't work for us. After clinching the 3rd quarter - this seems to be a strong period in the match for us regularly - we struggled to maintain composure."

Skipper Toetsie Kambatuku was at a loss for words after the match, but remained focused on the next match today. "We played quite well and it was a very hard game, but we didn't do enough to win.

"We didn't expect them to come back, but we somehow allowed them back into the game through silly mistakes. We have to work on what went wrong and prepare for the next game. We're looking forward to our next match against hosts Singapore and this time they must be prepared as we are going to give them a hard game."

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