Gems turn to First Lady
Sikhumbuzo Moyo in BULAWAYO
THE Zimbabwe senior netball team skipper, Perpetual Siyachitema, has made an impassioned plea to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to help them in their preparations for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, in July.
The Gems have been in camp at a St Peter’s Primary School in Harare’s high-density suburb of Mbare for the July 12-21 tournament.
And, in an emotional plea via a video link that has gone viral, Siyachitema appealed to the First Lady to come to their aid.
The Zimbabwe Netball Association, through their long-serving president Leticia Chapandu, have since blocked their technical team from speaking to the media.
But this did not stop Siyachitema from pleading with the First Lady to come to their rescue. The skipper said they lacked basic things like proper nutritional foods and training kit at their training camp in Mbare.
“If I could send a message to anybody out there I would send it to the First Lady. Mummy, we love you, we need you, we need your support,’’ the Gems skipper said.
“We are in camp, we need to go to Liverpool, but things are not going so well for us so Mummy, because of your soft heart, I think we really need your help. I am not happy with the support that we are getting because me and my girls worked very hard to get (to) where we are today, but we really (are) not getting the support that should be given to us.
“I don’t know why, maybe because we are ladies, I don’t know. I need you guys out there to just come and support us, please.
“One word I would use, if we don’t make it to the World Cup, is disappointment.
“The food that we are having is not good enough for sportspersons because we need proper fruits, juices and things like that, but unfortunately, we can’t afford to have such things.’’
When The Herald crew visited the Mbare Netball Complex, where the team was having their training session on Monday, we witnessed a sorry sight of what should be a national team.
The players, clad in different shorts and skin tights, did not even have a proper training kit.
One player was even wearing a skinny pair of jeans as they went through their paces.
The coach, Lloyd Makunde, appeared busy on his phone than barking instructions for the players to follow.
The team manager, Ledwin Dondo, slumped on her seat, could only say to The Herald crew that they should first speak to the president since they have been barred from entertaining the media.
The Gems are expected to leave for Uganda today for some friendly matches as part of their p
reparations for the World Cup.