By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Netball Association (ZINA) president Leticia Chipandu has appealed to the corporate world to financially assist the national team ahead of its maiden appearance at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England next year.
The national netball side, which is affectionately known as the Gems team, qualified for the tournament for the first time during the qualifiers staged in Zambia in August and will now compete against 15 other countries at the July 12 to 21 in the English city.
Zimbabwe, who are ranked 13th in the world, have been drawn in Group A alongside defending champions Australia, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.
Chipandu revealed that her association was looking for partners to secure funding for the country’s World Cup debut and has set a budget of over $100,000 which will go towards the team’s preparations.
“We are talking with a number of partners to get funding to prepare towards the World Cup,” she said.
“We have already met with a number of groups, so soon after the holidays, we will then see what we have and then we start these two-week camps.”
ZINA are also hoping to host the Africa Championships early next year in preparation for the World Cup, with the country in competition with Kenya and Burundi.
“There is a possibility that we will host the Africa Championships,” Chipandu said.
“We have been given certain set expectations by the Sports Commission like putting into place an Organising Committee to look at the different needs of hosting.
“Hosting will boost our preparations because we will have a chance to call as many players as we can for camping and get the best out of all the possible in the country.”
The team is looking to play Zambia and Malawi in friendly games as additional preparation having early this month played against neighbours South Africa and Zambia in the Diamond Challenge held in Polokwane.