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Singapore Chase 13th Spot After Falling to Zambia

Singapore to match up against world no 9 Barbados for the playoff match

Singapore lost their last qualification round game 36-67 to Zambia at the Netball World Cup (NWC) Sydney 2015 and find themselves in a difficult spot as they will need to overcome world no 9, Barbados to keep their 13th position hopes alive.

Ranked 16th in the world, Zambia went into the game chasing their first win of the competition. Though it was only their second appearance in the Netball World Cup, the African nation were very competitive and came close to winning at two occasions, losing 51-59 to world no 7, Fiji and 53-33 to world no 13, Samoa.

Singapore’s Charmaine Soh played her 50th international game for Singapore but the celebration was tainted as Singapore fell to African outfit, Zambia.

It was Zambia who took settled quicker into the game storming to a 6-3 lead after 6 minutes of the game. A time-out by Ang Shiqi allowed Singapore to regroup and put the game at 6-6 at 8 minutes. However, Zambia, who employed a man-to-man defence, created a lot of problems for the Singapore’s attackers with their tight defending. Singapore’s poor shooting accuracy of 57% added to their woes and Zambia led 14-8 after the first quarter.

Singapore’s sluggish performance continued into the 2nd quarter as Zambia stormed to a 6-1 lead (score at 20-9) after 3.46 minutes and Singapore was left chasing after a 10-goal gap after 4 minutes. Yu Mei Ling replaced Charmaine Soh at the break but the improved shooting accuracy (86%) of Yu and Chen Huifen failed to lift the team and Singapore lagged 20-31 going into the half time.

Head Coach, Ruth Aitken, called on Chen Li Li and Olivia Flanagan for the 3rd quarter but the defending trio could not contain the fast and accurate Zambians. Zambia were fantastic at the shooting end and posted a high shooting statistic of 94% with their Goal Attack, Lucy Jere leading the scoreboard with 26 goals out of 28 attempts. Singapore were frantic with their play as they chased the widening gap but had difficulty combating the Africans and the quarter ended 28-49 to Zambia.

Singapore fought hard till the last second of the match but the Zambians were far superior and grabbed their first win of the competition, beating Singapore 36-67.

Charmaine Soh, said of her 50th game for Singapore, “I thought they are a very fast and agile team. I felt that we did not treasure our own balls and our own possession. I thought it was a very disappointing game for us. I thought it was due to our own mental strength that we did not perform up to task today but we could have done so much better. It is definitely a very disappointing game for all of us and we will learn from it. Today is definitely a very hard time for us. It was a very disappointing 50th cap and I personally felt that I did not play well. I will do better on my 51st.”

Aitken said of their opponents, “I think they were incredibly accurate on attack and we couldn’t get any turnover balls which is very unusual for us. In the first quarter, 100% of their turnovers came through to their goal and 93% of their centre passes got through to goal so that’s really hard. They are very athletic in a very unassuming way and we just struggled to adjust to their style. They are a very good team.”

“I think we got frustrated when our normal pressures were ineffective. So we needed to up the energy level and we struggled to do that. I certainly don’t think there were extra pressure in the shot so I think it’s about our shooters needing the confidence to put it up and I suppose it’s about being comfortable in the set of their shot so how they are taking the ball needs to be looked at to make sure they are well balanced to put that ball iBecause) they are good shooters but we are not shooting at the level we should be,” added Aitken on Singapore’s performance.

On whether it is an uphill task for Singapore tomorrow, Aitken said, “Yes, we are playing Barbados at 10am tomorrow morning while Barbados had a rest day. We have chosen the hard way and we just have to walk it.”

After finishing 4th in their qualification group, Singapore will meet world no 9, Barbados in the playoff match tomorrow at 10am (8am Singapore time) at the Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park, Australia. The winner of the match will fight for the 13th spot while the loser will play in the 15th/16th placing match on Sunday, 16 August.

World no 4 Jamaica beat world no 6 Malawi narrowly by 1 goal, 63-62, earlier this morning and world no 3 England will meet world no 5, South Africa at 4.20pm. New Zealand, the only undefeated team in the NWC2015 will play Uganda and defending champions Australia will match up against Wales at 6.20pm and 8.20pm respectively.

The semi-finals will be played at 12.10pm and 2.20pm (10.10am and 12.20pm Singapore time) on 15 August and the gold medal match at 3.20pm (1.20pm Singapore time) on 16 August. The top 4 teams in the world, namely, Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica remained in pole positions for the semis.

 

Starting Line-ups

Singapore 

GS CHARMAINE SOH 

GA CHEN HUIFEN (VICE-CAPT) 

WA KIMBERLY LIM

C NURUL BAIZURA (VICE-CAPT) 

WD ANG SHIQI 

GD PREMILA HIRUBALAN 

GK LIN QINGYI (CAPT) 

 

Zambia

GS LUCY JERE

GA ELIZABETH BWALYA

WA CAROL MOONO (VICE-CAPT)

C BRENDA MWILA

WD ANNIE MUKAMBA (CAPT)

GD MARGARET MUTAFELA

GK AGNESS CHINGAMBO

 

Quarter Results (Singapore v Zambia)

1st Quarter 8-14

2nd Quarter 20-31 (12-17)

3rd Quarter 28-49 (8-18)

4th Quarter 36-67 (8-18)

 

Shooting Accuracy

Zambia (Overall: 92%)

Lucy Jere 34/36 (94%)

Elizabeth Bwalya 17/18 (94%)

Diana Banda 16/19 (84%)

Singapore (Overall: 61%)

Charmaine Soh 7/13 (54%)

Chen Huifen 15/24 (63%)

Yu Mei Ling 14/22 (64%)

 

Singapore’s Past Results and Upcoming Fixtures

Preliminary Round (Pool C)

7 August, 11.50am: Singapore vs Sri Lanka (56-43)

8 August, 5.20pm: South Africa vs Singapore (69-21)

9 August, 6.20pm: Malawi vs Singapore (75-31)

Qualification Round (Pool G)

11 August, 10.20am: Samoa vs Singapore (39-46)

12 August, 10.20am: Trinidad & Tobago vs Singapore (75-32)

14 August, 2.20pm: Singapore vs Zambia (36-67)

Playoff Match

15 August, 10.00am: Singapore vs Barbados