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ESWATINI BREAKS INTO WORLD NETBALL RANKINGS

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MBABANE – Eswatini netball is back on the word chats.

The country is now ranked number 29 out of 46 after competing in the World Netball (WN) World Cup held recently in South Africa.
The rankings were released by World Netball this past Monday and countries were ranked through games played up to November 2022, which include all the matches played at the regional qualifying events for the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023). Before then, the Kingdom of Eswatini did not qualify for ranking by virtue of failing to compete in international tournaments. Despite their failure to qualify for the NWC which would for the first time touch the African soil, they managed to achieve position 29 on the global netball rankings chart.

Expected

In order for a country to be ranked, they are expected to play a minimum of six international test matches over the rating period. Information sourced from the World Netball website revealed that if a team has played fewer than the minimum matches, they would still have a rating, but without a corresponding ranking. To have a ranking, the team must have played at least two games against a rated team. Since its inception in 2007 the World Rankings methodology has been reviewed regularly by the WN Board to ensure it remains a robust and reliable ranking system that presents a true reflection of the quality and standing of the performances of international teams and that this system can be used with confidence for qualification purposes.

Rankings also apply when seeding teams for international competitions as the highest ranked teams have an advantage of a free pass to the semi-finals without playing in the eliminatory stage. Eswatini National Netball Association (ENNA) General Secretary (GS) Bongiwe Gamedze said the rankings were a boost for the national team as they would be encouraged to thrive in their competition with the hope to get elevated in terms of placing and standard of play.

Qualify

“Although we did not qualify for the World Cup, we were shocked that we were ranked higher than teams that had been active all along. We were suspended from rankings after failing to compete in international games as our last one was in Singapore in 2019,” Gamedze said. National team coach Nhlanhla ‘Friction’ Mayisela said the ball was in their court to continue participating in Africa netball tournaments to avoid suspension again.

“This now means that we are recognised by World Netball and we hope to continue competing because if we don’t, we won’t be ranked. There are a number of tournaments that we hope to participate in next year, starting with one on Africa to be held in Uganda just before the World Cup,” he said.
The NWC2023 will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from July 28 to August 6, 2023, with Australia, Barbados, England, Fiji, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Wales and Zimbabwe all set to compete for the trophy.

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