Uganda make Singapore pay for ‘flat’ showing

SINGAPORE- They have yet to play enough matches internationally to warrant earning a world ranking but Uganda's netballers are no minnows.

Yesterday, the Africans trounced Singapore 60-32 in the Nations Cup at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, handing the hosts their first loss after four matches.

Singapore had entered the match expecting a tough fight against a team they had never met.

Uganda had finished third in the African Championships earlier this year, behind Malawi (world No.5) and South Africa (world No.6).

But it was also clear that the Republic, the reigning Asian champions and ranked 21st in the world, were not at their best yesterday.

"I think we were flat," said coach Ruth Aitken after the match. "But I definitely felt Uganda also really stepped up, and they've been the big improvement (of the tournament) as the week went on."

While shooters like Cassandra Soh and Chen Huifen were on fire - sending the ball through the hoop 91 per cent and 100 per cent of the time respectively - Singapore suffered in their passing accuracy mid-court.

Said Aitken, a New Zealander who had won the world championship both as a player and coach: "It (passing accuracy) certainly wasn't at its best but that's because of the pressure Uganda were putting on.

"They play quite a different style from us and I don't think we adjusted as well as we needed to."

Team captain Lin Qingyi, who plays in defence, admitted that the match had felt out of her side's control at times.

She said: "It felt a bit messy and we were trying different things on them but just didn't quite get it.

"We'll need to go back to the drawing board and work something out if we play against them again."

The Republic would have booked a place in Saturday's final had they beaten Uganda.

But they can still assure themselves of a top-two finish if they beat the United States tomorrow.

Said Aitken: "The USA play a holding game so it's about movement around bodies and ensuring that we have confidence in one another.

"We sort of lost our lengths a little bit today. We've got to get our rhythm back."

In other matches, Papua New Guinea breezed past the US 72-31 while Sri Lanka beat Ireland 65-49.

Teams enjoy a rest day today before playing their last round-robin matches tomorrow.

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