Albert Marufu in LONDON, England
UK-ZIM Netball Association chairperson, Barbra Siyachitema, is happy with the way the Zimbabwean community in England has been rallying behind the Gems at the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup currently taking place in Liverpool, England.
Zimbabwe opened the tournament with a victory over Asian champions Sri Lanka before losing their second game to world champions Australia.
They, however, bounced back to beat Northern Ireland to advance to the second stage of the tournament on their debut appearance with the fans solidly behind.
Although the Zimbabwean community in the United Kingdom has been supportive for the team on the court, Siyachitema was disappointed with the cold response her association has received from fellow Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom in their efforts to help raise additional funds for the team.
She revealed that her association only managed to raise a measly £350, which is too little to make a difference. The tournament started last Friday and ends this coming Sunday at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
UK-Zimbabwe Netball Association was formed soon after the Gems qualified for the World Cup to help the Government and the Zimbabwean corporate sector in fund-raising for the team.
In an interview with The Herald, Siyachitema said the response from the diaspora community was not impressive at all as they had to cancel most of their planned fundraising activities due to poor ticket sales.
Siyachitema said although they could not raise a significant amount, her association managed to organise food (lunch and supper) for the girls and mobilised the community to come and support the girls in Liverpool.
“UK-Zim Netball Association did not raise much money because there was so much resistance from the Zimbabwean community. It is so little that we do not know how to share it among the girls.
“The support was just poor. This is unfortunate because these 20 girls and their technical team deserve more.
“I started this because of my love for netball and understanding what these girls are going through. We have only managed to raise £350 and it will be nice if the Diaspora community contribute towards the fund so that we give the girls something.
“Most corporates that had promised to support us either cancelled last minute or did not honour their pledges. The girls are playing very well and it is good that we are supporting them on the court. The girls have given everything and it would be nice to give them something as a community. People can still donate,” she said.
“We however, got support which came in kind from MadeInZwe and Loveness Taibu who organised lunch and supper for the team. This took the burden off the association,” she said.
She added; “It was so sad that our efforts were not supported. However, it was not all gloom as we achieved our other goal of raising awareness for people to come and support the girls. Zimbabweans have come in numbers to support the team and this has helped the girl. In that regard, Zimbabweans have been fantastic as you can see.”
She added that she does not regret taking the initiative to fundraise for the girls.