By Reason Razao
ZIMBABWE national netball team, the Gems, has commended efforts by government and leading retail chain, Spar, for financing their tour of South Africa, where they managed to secure a spot in next year’s Netball World Cup.
The ladies were happy with the sponsorship, despite travelling to and fro the event by bus.
The Gems beat Zambia 59-41 in the third quarter playoff match at the Africa Regional Qualifiers in Pretoria on Saturday becoming the fourth African team to qualify for the 2023 Netball World Cup.
Speaking on arrival at Rainbow Towers, team coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki, called for joint efforts from both government and private sector in funding one of the consistent sports that has put the country’s map on global
“We call upon the government and private sector to help us financially, now that we have qualified for next year’s World Cup,” Mutsauki said.
More funding will be needed ahead of next year’s tournament, with friendly matches, a prerequisite requiring a lot of travelling as part of preparations.
“We are looking forward to arranging friendly matches as they are an important part of our preparations.
“The matches will help us gauge where we are in terms of preparation and the competition that comes with these friendlies will enable us to fine tune and polish the way we play so that come World Cup, we will compete at international level,” Matsauki added.
Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZINA) president, Letitia Chipandu applauded the performance by the Gems.
“It has been a very long journey for the Gems to be where they are, but it shows proper planning, proper training, proper management and proper player development pathway for them,” said Chipandu.
Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) deputy director, Ignitious Vambe said the Gems had made the country proud.
“We are happy and satisfied by the performance by our girls, we have once again qualified for the netball World Cup, and as government and we pledge to continue to support them,” Vambe said.
The Gems are ranked 12th and 4th in the world and Africa, respectively.