THE Zambia netball team's quest for a gold medal at the on-going 2012 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games suffered a setback yesterday after losing 35-43 to Botswana.
Zambia, who kicked off with a 52-40 win over Namibia, led the first quarter 10-8 and continued dominating the second quarter 21-17.
But the tactical substitution that saw Wing Attacker (WA) Esther Phiri introduced as a Centre for Agnes Bwalya with Brenda Mwamba taking up as WA.
This could not help improve the game and Bwalya was brought back for Mwamba.
The indecision saw the Zambian team surrendering their lead, trailing 27-32 and finally went on to lose 35-43 and will now need to beat Malawi in today's 11:00 hours fixture to keep alive hopes of winning a medal.
"The players played well. In sport you have to win and lose some. We just have to concentrate on winning our next match against Malawi, not all hope is lost as we still have hope of winning a gold medal," Zambian team official Charles Zulu said.
It was the same story for the tennis team who recorded defeats with Zambia's top junior seed Idah Longwe losing her singles quarter-final match 2-0 to Malawi's Mary Luhanga.
Longwe, playing on the third court, lacked physical fitness as she repeatedly kept failing to return the balls into her opponent who ended up cruising to a 7-6, 6-2 victory to sail to the semi finals.
The country junior top seed beat Claudia Sumaia of Mozambique in the opening encounter win via 6-2 and 6-2 set scores but just failed to find her winning rhythm against the Malawian in the quarters.
Luhanga was joined in the last four by of the girl's singles by Zamarie Pinnar of South Africa and Mpho Kotzie of Lesotho. Other casualties were Chiwena Mwele, who lost his opening game 2-0 to Malawian Chipangano Sandukili on court three with set scores 6-4 and 6-2 respectively and Caroline Zulu, who had a bad swing losing 2-0 to Diana Da-Costa of Mozambique.
Despite picking up play, Zulu could not keep up with the hard strikes from Da-Costa and conceded the game 6-3, 61.
In the boys' singles category, Kalaba, who had kicked off his campaign on a high, but lost in two straight sets to Reinhardt Tollip of South Africa in the boys' singles quarter-finals losing 6-1, 6-0.
On Saturday, Kalaba edged Josi Ncau of Angola 2-1 in an exciting preliminary match played on court two.
Kalaba on court two started the game with a backhand and struggled to land the ball on Ncau's side of the court leading him to lose the first set 6-3 but the youngster later realised his mistakes and wiped his racquet for a firm grip and went on to claim the second set 7-5 before sealing 6-3 victory in the final set.