Story by Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S target of a top four finish at the 2023 Netball World Cup is over after the Gems lost 52-48 to minnows Fiji this Saturday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
As anticipated, the fans turned up in their numbers expecting a victory against a team that is ranked lower than the Gems and has a population smaller than that of Harare.
However the joy was short-lived as the Gems went on to disappoint after going down to Fiji 52-48 to suffer their second defeat at the ongoing Netball World Cup.
The Gems were lethargic, slow to every ball and just did not look hungry enough to win the match, while the technical team also made some calls that killed the little rhythm the team had.
“We failed to contain pressure in the second and third quarter and we just lacked character as team, we also need to work on the mental aspect of the game I think this is another area that we lost the game,” said Gems assistant coach, Tatenda Shinya.
Team vice captain, Claris Kwaramba summed up the team’s performance, “In the first quarter we were complacent, we lost our centre passes, the fine margins from yesterday’s game we again haunting us, we had too many errors and high turnovers it’s was just a bad day in the office.”
Zimbabwe took the first quarter 14-12 before allowing Fiji to come back in the second quarter to go to the half time trailing 25-26, and then to eventually lose 52-48.
Zimbabwe next take on Tonga this Sunday needing nothing short of victory to stay in contention and fight for a place in the top 12.
Meanwhile, Australia beat Tonga 85-38 leaving Zimbabwe needing to beat Tonga by 18 points in their final group match this Sunday to progress to the next round.