THERE is a ray of hope for the Gems’ with the team set to travel tomorrow for the Africa Netball Championships which start on Friday in Cape Town.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Netball Association yesterday said the Gems were scheduled to leave South Africa tomorrow.
Indications are that they have secured sponsorship to be unveiled today at a local hotel in Harare.
“Training started in earnest yesterday (Monday) and we plan to travel on Thursday, finances and material resources permitting,’’ the statement said.
“It has been a struggle to secure funding and it remains so but we are hopeful that we will make the trip.”
Zimbabwe are set to take on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in Pool B while Pool A is made up of South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho. Of the 13 players called up for the assignment, nine were at training yesterday under the guidance of Ropafadzo Mutsauki.
The others are still expected to join the team.
Mutsauki said it was difficult to try and come up with a formidable team within a short space of time.
“This is our formal first session, so the team is there and the team is good, we just want to try to make new combinations and to see their fitness levels,” Mutsauki said.
“It’s very difficult to make a team and produce good results in a short period like this.
“We will see their performance on court then we will try to adjust one or two positions.’’
Newly-appointed Gems captain, Felistus Kwangwa, says they want to continue their incredible story when they take part at the tournament. Kwangwa takes over from Perpetua Siyachitema, who retired after the World Cup in July, in Liverpool.
“What I am expecting from the team is just to continue from where we left in Liverpool,’’ she said.
“We just have to showcase ourselves when we get on court, play our hearts out and bring good results back home.
“We have not had enough time for training but that shouldn’t make us lose focus.
“We are still determined to win considering that we have previously brought good results, we are still expecting to just continue and do what we are good at.
“When we were in Liverpool, we just told ourselves that we were going to fight until the last whistle and I think that’s what we are going to do. “We know that all those teams, which are over that side, have been in camp for some time. “But that won’t really affect us, we just keep on fighting because I think everyone has been participating in the league so I think, in terms of fitness levels, we are good.’’
Shooters: Joice Takaidza, Tafadzwa Mawango, Ursula Ndlovu, Sharon Bwanali.
Mid Court: Patricia Mauladi, Claris Kwaramba, Progress Moyo, Lorraine Manjoro.
Defenders: Felistus Kwangwa, Tanaka Makusha, Queen Sigauke, Beverly Chipadze, Tatenda Dziva.