Heroic Gems rewarded; Coventry pledges more State funding towards netball team

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By Staff Reporters

Sport Minister, Kirsty Coventry has pledged further government funding towards the national netball team, the Gems, who have been rewarded with US$11 000 for their Netball World Cup qualification.

The minister reaffirmed support as the country is set to participate in its second consecutive tournament.

Following their triumph over Zambia in a third place playoff in last week’s tournament in South Africa, the Gems will be among the four African countries to grace the global tournament.

Speaking at the Gems welcome reception organised by Spar in Harare Wednesday, Coventry said the team deserved US$11 000 as an appreciation gesture for representing the country well.

“As a Ministry we have come up with a new modified tier system of being able to give recognition to our athletes and teams when they come back from different ventures,” Coventry said.

“And that is allowing me to celebrate our Gems in a small way and show a small appreciation by awarding the team US$11 000.

“Today we witness the gains of hard work, resilience and preparation yielding the much-desired result in a team sport proving that with the right ingredients, it can be done. Not just for the Gems but for any other dedicated and committed team. I believe, therefore, this is the right time for us all to rally behind the Gems, support and ensure optimum participation of the Gems at the World Cup come Cape Town 2023,” said Coventry.

The former swimming world champion applauded retail giants SPAR for sponsoring the Gems, and encouraged other corporates to rally behind the team as they prepare for next year’s World Cup

“It is indeed uplifting to note that there are corporates which still believe in the potential residing in Zimbabwe sport.

“I would like to take this opportunity to invite other corporates to join Spar Zimbabwe in cushioning the Gems towards and during the 2023 World Cup preparations,” she said.

The ministry also pledged financial support as the side gears for the 2023 event.

“We know this, next year there is going to be support needed. We are ready to stand behind you, we are ready to walk beside you on this road to the 2023 Netball World Cup,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Letitia Chipandu, applauded the Gems for their hard earned qualification, saying the team was now enjoying the fruits of efforts made over the years.

Proud netball sponsors Spar Zimbabwe general manager, Cypren Borerwe, said they are proud of the achievement by the Gems and look forward to continue supporting the team.

“Yes, most definitely we are looking ahead and hopefully we will continue with our partnership and sponsorship of the Gems all the way to the Netball World Cup in Cape Town next year, so definitely the partnership is ongoing,” Borerwe said.

Spar was proud with achievement done by the Gems and said their union will continue.

“Obviously we take pride in the work that has been done by the Gems and we feel that the Gems deserve all of our support and we obviously look forward to them continuing on that route,” said the general manager .

The 2023 Netball World Cup will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from July 28 to August 6.