Kampala — The scenes as the national netball team, the She Cranes, touched down at Entebbe airport yesterday at 11am aboard Ethiopian Airways were predictably joyous.
And why not?. Over the weekend, they sealed back-to-back qualification to the World Cup having first taken part in 1979.
In the process, they also regained the African Netball Championship in the seven-team competition hosted in Lusaka, Zambia.
"I am so delighted for the She Cranes winning the African title for a second time, and also qualifying for the Netball World Cup consecutively because we were there in 2015 and we are going back to the same event in 2019," coach Vincent Kiwanuka said.
Their success seemed never in doubt particularly after Uganda edged sixth-ranked Malawi 51-46, the only side with a higher rating than the She Cranes at the tournament played in a round-robin format.
Focus is key
"Given the skills and ability the She Cranes have as a team, winning did not take me by surprise. However the team should stay composed and focused, early preparation is key to success," captain Peace Proscovia observed.
National Council of Sports board member Hajji Zubair Galiwango had a similar message for the She Cranes who were joined by Zimbabwe for next year's World Cup in Liverpool England.
"You should remain committed, train more and more because the facilities required are available," he said. The 66-52 victory over Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon sealed qualification after the She Cranes had easily dispatched Zambia 64-56, Botswana 66-35 and Kenya 61-42.
The 72-47 win over Namibia set had meanwhile set the roll balling for coach Kiwanuka's side.