Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING the Gems’ qualification for the 2019 World Cup, Zimbabwe Netball Association president Leticia Chipandu says they are not taking a break as they are already planning for the event.
Zimbabwe, together with Uganda, claimed the two remaining slots for Africa to the World Cup at the just-ended African Championships that were doubling as the World Cup qualifier, in Lusaka, Zambia.
They join South Africa and Malawi, who automatically qualified for the global netball event by the virtue of their International Netball Federation world rankings.
South Africa are fifth while Malawi occupies position six.
The Zimbabwe netball senior team will be making their maiden appearance at the World Cup in Liverpool, England, next July.
“I have already spoken to the girls and the coaches. We are keeping everyone for Liverpool. I am so happy all those girls are already playing at clubs. ‘’We are going to monitor their play at their respective clubs.
“We need to provide them with more competition. In November we are going for the Diamond Challenge in South Africa as part of our preparations for Liver- pool.
‘’The World Cup is not far, we need to remain focused,” said Chipandu.
In the African Championship race Zimbabwe finished third overall behind Uganda, who retained the title and Malawi who settled for bronze. Malawi were challenging for the African title since they had already sealed their place at the World Cup.
Chipandu made a passionate appeal for support as she noted that they now face a huge task of representing the country at the global showpiece.
“As a team we really need financial support. The World Cup is not a walk in the park. We need huge financial support.
‘’The girls need to be highly motivated in terms of getting bonuses just like the other countries.
“We need to have a standard in terms of dressing, we need tickets, accommodation…so as soon as we are back we need to come up with the budget and approach the Sports Commission and the ministry.
“We need to come with an organising committee that’s capable with raising money and with the support of our Government is going to give, I think we will be able to make it,” said Chipandu.
Zimbabwe netball teams continue to defy the odds with the Under-21 side making their maiden appearance at the World Youth Cup last year in Botswana.
They had qualified for the event in 2016 and they finished ninth out of 20 countries that took part at the World Youth Cup.