World Cup heartbreak for Young Gems at regional qualifiers

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Zimbabwe’s Under-21 netball team endured a heart-breaking finish to their campaign at the Netball Youth Africa Africa qualifiers following a 43-41 loss to neighbours Zambia in the winner takes all third place playoff match in Pretoria on Saturday.

The loss to Zambia meant the Young Gems missed out on the last spot for the 2025 Youth World Cup in Gibraltar.

Zambia will join South Africa and Malawi who have also booked their slots.

It was a tournament of mixed emotions for the Young Gems, who played some exceptional netball against favourites Malawi before enduring some disappointing moments such as the loss against Namibia with just a single goal.

Zimbabwe missed out on a place at the World Cup following a loss to Zambia in the third place playoff match

Zimbabwe were however handed a lifeline after Namibia dropped a point after their draw against Kenya, earning the Young Gems another chance to qualify for the World Cup with a win against Zambia on Saturday.

In the end it was not to be for the Young Gems as they narrowly lost to Zambia in the crucial playoff match.

Meanwhile hosts South Africa remained unbeaten to secure their spot in the Netball World Youth Cup 2025 in Gibraltar with a 45-26 victory over Malawi in the final of the Africa Regional Qualifiers in Pretoria on Saturday.

South Africa players and officials celebrate after their victory against Malawi in the final of the Africa Regional Qualifiers in Pretoria on Saturday.

South Africa came out tops with a 100% winning record in the tournament.

South Africa return to the global competition after the last edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Baby Proteas finished in seventh place in the last edition which was held in Botswana in 2017.

Earlier, Kenya overcame Namibia 50-42 to secure fifth spot, while Zambia held their nerve to edge Zimbabwe 43-41 in the third-place playoff match to secure their spot in Gibraltar next year.

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