NAMIBIA suffered their second defeat at the Nations Cup Netball Tournament in Singapore yesterday when they lost 59-42 to Malaysia.
A close match had been predicted after two close encounters between the two sides at last year’s Nations Cup, with Namibia winning their group match 44-42, while Malaysia won the third place play-off 52-47.
This time round, Namibia got off to a good start and took a 25-21 lead at halftime but Malaysia upped the tempo after the break to run out comfortable winners.
“The first two quarters we played with our full team but unfortunately we’ve had a stomach bug so I had to make some changes as our players couldn’t keep the pace up. That’s why there was such a big difference and it was like two matches on court,” said Namibian coach Marcha Myburgh in her post-match assessment.
“I am happy with the way the girls played in the first half but a loss is never a good thing and I am not happy with that. Tomorrow the girls will chill out and have a very lazy day and an early night because we have a big match coming up on Friday and most of us are looking forward to that one.”
The Namibian team warmed up in striking pink training tops, while their support staff wore pin badges, as part of their support for breast cancer, a charity they work closely with back home.
Their focus was fully on the match though from the first whistle and they squeezed in front to take the first quarter by one goal (11-12) and had a breathing space of only four goals by the end of the first half (21-25).
The advantage switched strongly in favour of Malaysia in the third quarter – working hard to move the ball around Namibia’s athletic players - winning it 19-8 to go 40-33 ahead.
They kept the pressure on as Namibia faded and eventually ran out comfortable 59-42 winners.
The teams are now tied on the table with two wins each. They could well meet again on Saturday for a repeat of last year’s third and fourth place play-offs.
Malaysian coach Aminah Asaari said: “I am very happy, we achieved our target and really wanted to win this game. My girls played very hard. We changed strategy in the second half. I told them to play controlled, safe and slow. Very easy. Now we must win against Ireland.”
In other matches yesterday, Sri Lanka beat Ireland 73-60 and Tanzania beat Singapore 51-34.
Namibia’s final group match is against the unbeaten Tanzania tomorrow. – netball.org.sg