Zimbabwe netball team brace for World Cup

Story by Raynald Ngwarati

THE Zimbabwe netball team, the GEMS, are not leaving anything to chance as they prepare for the Netball World Cup slated for South Africa later this month.

The ladies are confident of causing an upset when they take on the world’s best from the 28th of July to the 6th of August in Cape Town, South Africa.

Having finished eighth in their World Cup debut in 2019, the GEMS, who are training at Girls High School in Harare, are eying yet another fairy tale in South Africa and are working around their weaknesses identified from the previous edition.

Assistant coach Tatenda Shinya said, “We are happy that the captain [Felistas Kwanga] is now on board and Nalani is also in. We are just waiting for Joice who is coming in two days and the full squad will be in. Everything is now smooth, we are now just finalising team combinations, especially with the new players on board.

“You find out we lost mainly to Malawi and Uganda because of the physical aspect of the game, but right now the girls are now fit and focused, they are ready for any type of competition. So, it means having more games with the boys’ teams will give us the much-needed competition since we didn’t have any friendlies earlier.

“The male teams are physically fit and also mentally fit, so looking at the teams we are going to play out there, they play similar netball that the boys’ teams do here.”

The players are not reading much into the opposition as they are bonding well as a team.

“I feel like we are now ready for the games, even if we play any game I feel like we are ready. It’s in the mind, if you tell yourself that you are going to win, you will win, but if you have that weak mind that you’re going to lose, you’ll lose. So, we’ll win,” said GEMS goalkeeper, Elizabeth Mushore.

“I think give us another week so that we can be together and we’re going to be good. It’s getting much better, the more we work together the better it gets,” added player, Nalan Makunde.

“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for and I will give my all. We have a bond as a team,” said the centre player, Nicole Ayanda Muzanenamo.

With her eye on the future, 19-year-old Thandazile Ndhlovu has been given a chance to train and learn from her seniors, although she will not feature in the global tourney.

“It is a chance that I always wanted to be in the national team. I’m the youngest, but I’m not going to play at the World Cup. It’s shaping Zimbabwean netball because we’re still growing and we’re still young, so in the next generation we will be so mature,” said Ndhlovu.

The GEMS are in Group A and will kick off their World Cup campaign with a date against Australia on the 28th of July 28 before taking on Fiji and Tonga.

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