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Zackey celebrates with a win

The SPAR South African netball team continued to dominate on the second day of the Africa qualifying games in Mamelodi on Tuesday, beating Tanzania 69-25.

Seven countries are participating in the four-day tournament to determine which two will join Malawi as the African representatives at the World Championships in Singapore in 2011. Our women have already qualified for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in October.

The match between South Africa and Tanzania started at a frenetic pace as both teams concentrated on attack. The South Africans were particularly good at getting the ball back to the goal area quickly, although the Tanzanians fought hard. The Proteas led 17-9 after the first quarter and increased their lead steadily as the match progressed. Tanzania focused on short passes, and were particularly good at interception, but the South Africans, buoyed by vuvuzelas blown on the stands, were just too good for them.

Coach Carin Strauss, who had identified Tanzania as a team capable of causing upsets, was delighted by the way the Proteas exerted their dominance. ÔÇ£It was a fantastic team effort, and the team is improving day by day,ÔÇØ she said. ÔÇ£It was a hard and fast game, which is good, because that is the way teams like Australia play. You can see that the time we spent in New Zealand and Samoa has boosted their confidence. They have also increased their speed, largely because what of what they learnt there.ÔÇØ

Leigh-Ann Zackey earned her 50th cap, and Strauss singled her out for particular praise. ÔÇ£At an international level, it is a wonderful achievement,ÔÇØ said Strauss.┬á ÔÇ£Zackey is a really good role player ÔÇô she gives direction, has a good eye and vision on court, and I believe she has what it takes to be an excellent coach in the future.ÔÇØ

South Africa are top of the leaderboard after Tuesday’s matches, with Botswana following closely behind. Strauss said Botswana could prove to be tough opponents, because they were used to playing internationally. ÔÇ£Their wing attack and goal attack are both very fast and experienced players, and could prove quite a handful,ÔÇØ she said.

Lesotho bt Zimbabwe 58-24
South Africa bt Tanzania 69-25
Botswana bt Zimbabwe 48-34
Namibia bt Tanzania 38-28