Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
THE senior national netball team coach Ledwin Dondo is confident her side will rise to the occasion when they take part in the Hong Kong Tri-nations tournament at Kowloon Park Sports Centre this week.
Zimbabwe were invited to compete in the tournament featuring hosts Hong Kong and Malaysia.
It will run from this Thursday up to Sunday.
Speaking just before their departure for the East Asian country yesterday, Dondo said while the girls were just coming back from the off-season break when they got into camp three weeks ago, they were ready for the challenge.
“We were in camp for three weeks and this time it was a bit hard because the girls were coming from the off-season break. So, for the first one-and-a-half weeks I was concentrating on the physical conditioning, then we proceeded to skills and partnerships.
“I am happy they are ready for the games. It’s only unfortunate the camp was very short but we are not complaining. We are ready for the games. We are going to win because the ground is level, they don’t know our play, we don’t know their play, so we are on equal terms. But I promise we are going to bring honours to Zimbabwe as usual,” said Dondo.
Dondo is also using the tournament to step up preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations in Kampala, Uganda, in June.
Zimbabwe are the reigning champions having won the title in 2015 and she indicated that she will retain the players travelling to Hong Kong for the continental showpiece.
“I think from the 10 (players) we are not going to drop anybody, we are just going to add more girls for the Africa Championships in June,” Dondo said.
Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Leticia Chipandu, is also a happy woman as she said they are looking forward to improving their world ranking.
Zimbabwe are ranked 17th in the world while Malaysia are occupying position 19 and Hong Kong are at number 26.
“It’s the first international tournament in a very long time. We have not been able to do these international competitions due to financial constraints. We have been able to compete in the regional and continental tournaments but this is our first international tournament.
“We are so excited, we are focused, we are looking forward to participating. The objective of this particular event is for us to go and compete. And we are competing for world rankings because these are world ranking games,” said Chipandu.
The team includes three Under-21 players Sanele Ncube, Mercy Mkwadi and Patricia Mauladi, who are likely to be part of the team going for the Netball World Youth Cup in July.
Felistas Kwangwa, Victoria Nkomo, Tatenda Dziva, Sanele Ncube, Patricia Mauladi, Paidamoyo Tinoza, Pauline Jani, Mercy Mkwadi, Tafadzwa Mawango, Perpetua Siyachitema (captain).