CAPTAIN Nanguloshi Kamutushi is one of three players on the current Desert Jewels team who were born when Namibia last appeared at the Netball World Cup.
Selma Bitler (33) and Anna Kasper (31) complete the trio set to help Namibia reach a second final round in the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers from August 21-27 in Pretoria, South Africa.
“Namibia last played at a World Cup in 1991. It’s been so many years, so we want history to repeat itself. We have skilled players, most of whom are seniors and experienced. So I think we’re going to have a very good competition,” Kamutushi, 36, said in an interview with The Namibian Sport on Wednesday.
Namibia wants to be part of the first-ever Netball World Cup on African soil. Hosting the global spectacle on the continent presents a new dawn for netball in Africa.
“Our goal is to qualify and we will fight for that. There is no in-between, we look at that goal and that’s what we aim for,” Kamutushi said.
“We’ve been training very hard and it’s going really well. The new coach [Mara Waya] actually builds on the skills and experience we have, it’s not like we’re going through a new system.
We are excited and looking forward to the competition. The goal is one, we want to qualify for the World Cup.”
Malawian netball legend Waya is set to chart Namibia’s route to the 2023 World Cup finals in Cape Town. She is optimistic about the Jewels’ chances after familiarizing herself with the team over the past few weeks.
“The training camp is going well. I’ve been here for three weeks. When I came, we started with speed, after that we did our combos and coordination,” Waya said.
Desert Jewels, whose qualifying place has been made possible by Debmarine Namibia, travel to South Africa next week Friday before taking on eastern neighbors Botswana in Group A two days later.
Tanzania, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa are the other nations in the pool.
“The team is in shape, it’s just one or two things that we need to keep working on so that we can achieve 90% of everything we want to achieve,” Waya said.
As hosts, South Africa is guaranteed a place at the World Cup. So does that of Uganda’s cranes due to their high global ranking.
This leaves Group B nations Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Eswatini and their four Group A rivals battling for the coveted two remaining spots.
“The chances are 100% for me because we are prepared for the other teams. Every day we make a game plan for each country,” she said.
“So the game plan is there and we’re hoping to finish number one in our group.”
Part of Waya’s optimism for the upcoming qualifiers stems from her good relationship with her new charges.
Waya said the players and other officials made their transition into the structure seamless. She can also count on the support of the trusted assistant to former Zimbabwe head coach Lloyd Makunde, who led his home country at a World Cup for the first time in 2019.
“The adjustment was good. I saw the team in Malawi when they came to the Tri-Series, so I knew some of the players, I spoke to them,” Waya said.
“When I came here, I already had a friendship with the players and the coaching staff. And we have known each other for a long time on the technical board, which makes it easier to work together.”