Desert Jewels ticked for challenge

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

After successful trials held over the weekend, the Desert Jewels of Namibia will return to the international scene to compete against South Africa, Uganda as well as local sides Proteas U/21 and the SA President’s Invitational squad next month.

Netball Namibia’s vice-president, Rebecca Goagoses, confirmed this to Namibian Sun, saying that this is a very important competition as it will improve the ranking of Namibia.

The senior national netball side last played an international competition in 2019 when they snatched the win from hosts Singapore in a closely contested 13th edition of the M1 Nations Cup final. Namibia beat the hosts 49-42 to bring home their first ever M1 Nations Cup trophy. One notable absence from the squad announced is Leandri van der Walt. Personal reasons were given for her name not making the list. She was one of the most influential players in Namibia’s victory in Singapore.

“I will be available for upcoming tournaments later this year once my situation changes,” said the chirpy Van der Walt.

Experienced players such as Venyekerera Maharero, Bytjie Zauana, Anna Kasper and Toetsie Tjihero will lead the squad into the challenge.

At the moment it is not clear who will captain the side.

“The players take part in the nomination and selection process. But the moment that happens, we will share,” Goagoses said. She added that the sponsor would be announced at a later stage as well. The coach of the team, Julene Meyers, was not available to answer questions about the team selection and her hopes and dreams for the current netball squad.

In the latest rankings of 1 July 2020, South Africa was ranked fifth, Uganda seventh, and Namibia 23rd in the world.

The following women are in the final squad selected: Eve Kamutushi, Toetsie Tjihero, Anna Kaspar, Anna Shipanga, Loide Hanyanya, Selma Bittler, Monica Gomases, Emmy Kutako, Mulenamaswe Mwale, Venyekerera Maharero, Bytjie Zauana and Juzelri Garbers.

Non-travelling reserves are Rachelle Roets, Jessica Moolman and Corry Mupenda.