Do or die for Gems

By Anashe Murombedzi

The Gems still have a chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup despite a 62-41 defeat to Malawi in the semi-finals of the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers in Pretoria South Africa this Friday.

The Gems faced Malawi knowing that a win would guarantee them a place at next year’s world cup even without playing the final, but it wasn’t to be.

The Malawians started strongly and opened a 19 point gap at half time and they held on for victory leaving the Gems needing to beat Zambia in the third and fourth place play-off, with the winner guaranteed a place at next year’s world cup as South Africa had already qualified before getting into this tournament.

In the third quarter, the Gems found it complex to reduce the gap and get the better of the Flames who were strong in their end leading 44-28.

“It was tough on our side. Malawi was prepared mentally and physically and I also feel the umpires were over-protective of the Malawian goal shooting circle and it was to our disadvantage, but overally our morale was a bit low and we need to go back to the drawing board to get ready for tomorrow’s game,” said Tatenda Shinya, Gems assistant coach.

Zimbabwe will face neighbours Zambia in a winner-take-all clash as they seek to earn a ticket to Cape Town.