Big Diaspora boost for The Gems

Albert Marufu in LONDON, England
ZIMBABWEANS based in the United Kingdom have formed an organisation to assist in mobilising resources for the Zimbabwe senior netball team that is set to participate at the 2019 Netball World Cup finals in Liverpool, England.

The tournament will run from July 12–21 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Zimbabwe earned a place at the global showpiece after finishing second to Uganda at the African Netball Championship held in Zambia in August last year. That feat saw them becoming the third team from this country to qualify for the World Cup of a team sport after the senior rugby and cricket national teams.

The association, named UK-Zim Netball Association and chaired by Barbra Chakanyuka-Siyachitema, aims to source uniforms and resources for the general upkeep of the players and officials during their stay in the United Kingdom.

According to one of the association’s officials, Tomson Chauke, they will line up a number of fundraising activities for The Gems and have also approached a number of companies to assist.

“The main objective is to fundraise for the netball team and galvanise support within the Zimbabwean community based in the United Kingdom. The girls did a wonderful job in qualifying for the Netball World Cup so they need our support. Companies such as Senditoo and Cassava have pledged to work with us,” he said.

Chauke also revealed that the UK-Zim Netball Association is working with a number of musicians based in Zimbabwe to come up with a theme song for the senior netball team.

“We are working with a number of musicians such as Selma M’tukudzi, Mathias Julius and Josh Meki to come up with a theme song in support of the girls. Proceeds from the sales of the song will go towards the welfare of the players. The netball players will appear in the video,” he said.

CAPS United Legends UK, who are advocates of junior football development, have also pledged their support for The Gems when they come to England.

“We are definitely going to do something for the girls and also drum up support within the Zimbabwe community living here in the UK. We support sports development in Zimbabwe,” said their spokesperson Timmy Chirozvani.

His sentiments were echoed by former Zimbabwe Footballers UK chairman Memory Mucherahowa who said they will work with others in drumming up support for netball team.

Making their first appearance at the Netball World Cup, Zimbabwe joins three other African countries – Uganda, Malawi and South Africa – at the world netball showcase.

South Africa and Malawi were among the five teams to be given automatic qualification by virtue of their high-ranking positions in the International Netball Federation World Rankings together with Australia, New Zealand Jamaica and hosts England.

Ranked number 13 in the world, Zimbabwe are in Group A that includes world top-ranked side Australia, Northern Ireland and the reigning Asian champions Sri Lanka.

Australia are the current Commonwealth silver medallists and they have a winning percentage of 88 percent having won 15 and lost only two of their 17 games played in 2018.

Sri Lanka are on an unbeaten run and emerged as the country with most Asian Netball Championship wins after bagging their fifth title in September.

Malawi, who are ranked at number six in the world, are in Group B that includes the second-best team in the world New Zealand, Barbados and Singapore.

Africa’s top ranked nation South Africa, who occupy position five in the world, are in the same pool as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji.

The She Cranes of Uganda, who are the current African champions, are in Group D and will face the hosts England, Scotland and Samoa.

The top three teams in each group advance to a second group stage. The top two teams in the two groups of six in that second phase will then face-off in the semi-finals.

Source: The Herald

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