NAMIBIA finished third overall at the Nations Cup Netball Tournament in Singapore after beating Sri Lanka 76-70 in the third-place playoff on Saturday.
In their group match on Wednesday, Sri Lanka came out on top 69-65 but it was a reversal of fortunes on Saturday with the Africans securing their highest finish at the Nations Cup so far after a 70-76 win.
Namibia Marcha Myburgh was oozing with delight after the match.
“It’s beyond sweet, its way, way up there. For me, this is a high. I am taking a leave of absence from the team for a while after a back operation but it’s lovely to finish this spell on a high. In 2010 we were fifth, last year we were fourth and we were aiming this year for the top three,” said Myburgh.
Sri Lanka took the first quarter by two goals (19-17) as they played their usual attacking style, picking out Tharjini Sivalingam in the circle each time.
It was 17 goals each in the second period to give the Asian side a 36-34 lead at the half but there was a marked shift in control after the break.
Namibia came out fighting and the crowd went crazy in support of them as they played with confidence and drive to take the third quarter 15-23 and sneak into the overall lead 51-57.
With their heads-up and momentum on their side they still had to fight hard in the final 15 minutes as Sri Lanka also dug deep and won the quarter 20-19 but the advantage had already gone to Namibia and they were delighted to take third place.
Sri Lankan co-captain Gayathri Lankathilake was disappointed to lose but happy with the tournament as a whole. She said: “It was our game, I know it was our game so I am very disappointed. It was a good game. I don’t know what happened to us after the half time. Overall, we are happy because we beat Singapore. This was our main target after losing at the Asian Championships. So our team and our country will be happy with this. With only three weeks’ training we did a good job.”
Singapore narrowly missed out on a top-two position and instead played for fifth and sixth positions against the Republic of Ireland in the opening match of the day. They beat the Irish 45-31.
Tanzania have been the stand-out team of the tournament and defeated Malaysia 45-38 in a gripping match to close-out the competition in style.
Tanzanian captain Lilian Sylidion said the team played without pressure which allowed them to flourish.
“It was an easier match [compared to earlier in the week]. We knew how they played and corrected our mistakes from the first time. I feel very happy and my country will be very proud as this is the first time we have won this competition,” Sylidion.