Pepes finish second in Nations Cup


PAPUA New Guinea Pepes went down to Zambia in the final of the Mission Foods Nations Cup netball tournament in Singapore yesterday.
Zambia, in their debut at the tournament, remained undefeated throughout and claimed the champion crown from Papua New Guinea with a 65-49 scoreline.
In an exciting start to the final, the Pepes were on par with the opponent, however, Zambia put on a tactical play which was to their benefit and allowed them to be constantly ahead in the point scoring.
The score difference widened only in the final quarter, when Zambia led with a score of six points in the last three minutes of the match.
PNG, determined to catch up with their opponents, responded with aggressive attacking play.
In spite of that, the team could not find their bearing to tip the match and Zambia eventually triumphed.
Team Zambia’s head coach, Charles Zulu commented: “It took me almost five years to build this team.
“Now, it is promising. I’m so happy with their achievements.
“In fact, in sports development, it takes eight years for a player to reach her peak.
“If you’re in your fifth year with such achievement, you’re on the right track. I’m looking at the Under-20 now, so as to help them blend with the older players, and I’m on track to achieving my goal of getting the team to the top five.”
The gruelling third and fourth-placing match kicked off with Botswana’s Tumisang scoring the first three goals.
Team Singapore displayed their strength through their midcourt, passing the ball across court to their goal-shooter, who eventually scored their first goal.
Despite their determination, an unmarked Tumisang of Botswana scored the final goal to bring the exciting match to a close with the score of 47-41.
Singapore coach Ruth Atiken commended her team’s effort.
“I thought it was an amazing game — we had an amazing passion and determination keeping the game, but we just couldn’t get over the line,” Atiken said.
“The fight-back was fantastic, but we didn’t get any goals in it, that’s the reality.”
In the match for the fifth and sixth placing, Ireland defeated Canada.
Beyond the tournament, Singaporean Nigel Lim, the only men’s umpire officiating, was awarded the International Umpiring Award – netball’s highest umpiring award.

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