By Sports Reporter
ZAMBIA won the 2016 Mission Foods six- nations netball tournament on Singapore’s soil beating Papua New Guinea (PNG) 65-49 in an exhilarating grand final yesterday.
This is Zambia’s maiden title outside the African continent and has raised the standards of netball high.
The Zambian Queens completed the tournament with an unbeaten record in all six games.
Zambia began the game on high pace commanding the centre and frontline with the first quarter ending 17-14 in their favour.
In second quarter, Zambia tightened their backyard and improved their accuracy on target and by half time; they were leading 32-26.
PNG came back strong and caused some trauma for the Zambian defence and the third quarter ended 40-47 in favour of the champions.
Zambia picked up speed in the final quarter and completely cut off PNG who only managed to score two goals. The Champions were in a class of their own and scored 18 goals to win the title on a 65-49 score line.
Coach Charles Zulu shed tears while the players screamed to their success.
“When we started off from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, our goal was to win the title and here we are, crowned the champions. This day will remain a historic event for netball in Zambia,” he said.
He said the players played as a unit and never deviated from the team’s mission in Singapore.
“The girls should be commended for their outstanding performance. It was never easy to finish the tournament with unbeaten record, but because of hard work and discipline, they achieved the goal,” he said.
Netball Association of Zambia (NAZ) general secretary Pritchard Ngoma hailed the team for the brilliant performance at the tournament.
Ngoma said the team deserved a hero’s welcome for giving Zambia an honourable representation.
Meanwhile, Botswana finished third after beating fourth placed Singapore 47-41 while Ireland were fifth after thrashing Canada 47-18.
The tournament kicked off last Sunday and closed yesterday in Singapore.