Gems eye World Cup

By Mthokozisi Dube

The Zimbabwe senior netball team, the Gems, will play some friendlies to fine-tune their preparations for the make-or-break World Cup qualifiers slated for South Africa next year.

After trooping into camp in preparation for the Netball World Cup Qualifiers set for Pretoria, South Africa, the Gems are now targeting to post a superb performance in their first game against Tanzania as they eye a slot in the World Cup.

The Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki believes the blended squad has what it takes to rub shoulders with Africa’s finest.

After their maiden appearance at the world’s prestigious netball tournament in Liverpool, Mutsauki is relishing a second dance at the global netball extravaganza.

“Preparations are going on well, no injuries so far or disturbances. We are expecting to get better results in South Africa. Our first game is very important, so we need to remain focused. We are looking at winning the first game so that we get enough motivation. We need to qualify. Right now, we will have at least two to three trainings in South Africa to polish our team so that we work on combinations, especially to test one of our players, Joyce Takaedza from South Africa,” she said.

Mutsauki, who is expected to trim his team before departure on Wednesday, says he has two competitive teams to choose from, but will use the two sessions to polish the team’s shooting and defending.

The Gems are in Pool A and will have to go past Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and hosts South Africa who have qualified by virtue of being hosts.

Uganda have also booked a slot by virtue of improved rankings.

Pool B has Uganda, Eswatini, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia.

The Gems are bidding for a second appearance at the World Cup tournament.