Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
AFTER their recent success at the Hong Kong tri-nations tournament, the senior national netball team is now shifting focus to the Africa Championships scheduled for Uganda in June.
Zimbabwe beat hosts Hong Kong and Malaysia to emerge winners of the tournament in the Asian country last weekend.
The team is now preparing for the Africa Championships which is set to run from June 24 to 30 in Uganda.
Coach Ledwin Dondo said they need more time together ahead of the African Championships.
“It was great, the fact that we won makes it even greater. One thing I am happy about is the girls gained confidence. But for preparations to Uganda, we must really camp for a longer period and scout for more players so that we have a larger pool of players to choose from.
‘’We need some more players in that team.
“The other thing we need is to play more friendly games. If the national association can afford us two friendlies with countries in the region, that will be good for us,” said Dondo.
Zimbabwe are the reigning African champions and Dondo said there are a few areas they need to work on.
“The strength of the team is on defence but we need to strengthen on the shooting area and more players in the middle. We need at least four players.
“So if we could start camp with 20 players and then trim to 16 or 14 that would be good. If we could have a month in camp then we can say we are now there and we can play as a consolidated team,” said Dondo.
Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Leticia Chipandu, appealed for more support not only to the national teams but for various programmes including the development of technical officials.
“My appeal would be perhaps to have more sponsors to support the different activities for the team, not only the national team playing part of it but also the technical officials, the coaches and the umpires.
“We can’t get good results if we do not have good coaches and umpires. So we need training for the officials as well,” said Chipandu.
The National Super League took off last weekend and the Zina president said it will go a long way in keeping the national players active.
“The league started last week and all the national team players play in the league. So they have the league games on the weekend.
“They are likely to get into camp in April. We will have both teams, the senior team and the 21-and-Under, which is preparing for the World Youth Cup in July,” said Chipandu.
The Under-21 side wrote their own piece of history last year when they qualified for the World Youth Cup to be held in Botswana from July 8 to 16.