By Anashe Murombedzi
The Zimbabwe netball team, the Gems, started their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note after edging Botswana 49-41 in Pretoria, South Africa, this Monday.
Although they came in few numbers, Zimbabwean fans made it colourful and gave the Gems the courage to deliver with passion.
The Gems started on the front foot leading 13-8 in the first quarter before Botswana made it a two-point gap at half time.
With Joyce Takaedza struggling with her game after she joined the team in South Africa, Sharon Bwanali was called up and she had a wonderful shooting game as Zimbabwe led 37-31 going into the fourth quarter and held on until the final buzzer.
“We really need to focus and concentrate on our game plan. We introduced Sharon whom we saw has accurate movement and it worked well to our advantage because she was also scoring,” said Tatenda Shinya, Zimbabwe Netball team assistant coach.
Zimbabwe completed a 49-41 victory against their neighbours and it was a day to celebrate for the Gems’ goal attacker Tafadzwa Matura who was named player of the match.
“It was challenging at first, but today I have seen that team spirit works because we attacked, we played and defended as a team. It wasn’t me only, but we have won as a team and looking forward to maintaining the current form,” said Matura.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will face former coach Lloyd Makunde who is now the Namibia assistant coach in their second match this Tuesday.