Gems brace for COSANA tri-nations event in Malawi

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S senior national team, the Gems, will return to competitive action next month when they take part in the Confederation of Southern African Netball Associations (COSANA) tri-nations event in Malawi from June 12-16.

COSANA on Wednesday unveiled what it called its “first-ever tournament after many years of non-action on its ground,” adding that the tournament would be contested between Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The confirmation of the tournament comes at a time when the Gems also started their training camp this week to prepare for their tour of Malawi.

The Gems held their second and final trials on Sunday at Stoddart Netball Complex in Mbare, with 15 players expected to be called for the Malawi tournament.

The COSANA tri-nations tournament will provide an opportunity for the Zimbabwe side to prepare the senior team for the Africa World Cup Qualifiers set for August 20-25, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The tri-nation series in Malawi will also have a bearing on the world rankings.

Hosts Malawi will enter the tournament as the highest-ranked nation at number seven on the global rankings, while Zimbabwe ranks 13th.

Zimbabwe’s tour of Malawi comes after the team’s bid to qualify for their second successive Netball World Cup recently received a massive boost following the signing of a sponsorship agreement between the Zimbabwe Netball Association and leading supermarket retail chain, Spar Zimbabwe.

Spar Zimbabwe’s support, targeting the national netball team, will see the Gems getting much-needed assistance towards their qualification journey, already earnestly underway for the Cape Town 2023 Netball World Cup.

The Gems made history in 2019 by qualifying for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England and were ranked 8th on this maiden appearance under very difficult conditions.

They are in the running once again for yet another qualification and the support from Spar Zimbabwe is expected to spur the team to greater heights.

The monthly funding from Spar Zimbabwe will go towards the provision of creating a high-performance environment for the Gems, targeting direct athlete support for kit, camps and high-performance training support.

The sponsorship will also ensure the team has adequate preparations, which include a series of month-long camps, regional friendlies and regional ranking tournaments leading to the World Cup Qualifier in August.

After the upcoming tour to Malawi, the Zimbabwe team will tour the United Kingdom for a series of preparatory matches from July 17-24, which will further help the team with more exposure before they compete in the World Cup qualifiers.