Ellina Mhlanga in LIVERPOOL, England
Zimbabwe senior netball team coach Lloyd Makunde yesterday said he is pleased with the way his side is shaping up ahead of the Netball World Cup after a jittery start on their first day of training here.
The Gems got down to business soon after their arrival and the coach says they have made progress ahead of their opening Group A game against Sri Lanka on Friday.
“It’s now coming up very well. We have seen on the first day it was a little bit jittery, I don’t know why but I think the players have adjusted to the playing surface now. So the girls are playing marvellous netball. If we maintain this, we are going to have good results.
“Today I can say they have fully recovered from the jet lag, they are back to their original selves today,” Makunde said. The Gems technical team was yesterday working more on perfecting accuracy in shooting as well as their speed work.
Makunde said with Sri Lanka having the advantage of height, especially their goal-shooter Tharjini Sivalingam, they need to come with strategies to counter their opponents considering their defenders are not that tall.
“We have been watching them. Their type of play is very different from ours, they have tall players and they rely on high balls and they are a bit slow than us. So we can always counter them on our fast game. And we have been working on that and accurate shooting.
“We changed the shooting combinations halfway through the session so we are trying everything so that we come out with the best combination. We are still weighing our options as of now,” said Makunde.
Zimbabwe will be pinning their hopes on the likes of seasoned goal-shooter, Pauline Jani, who is expected to lead the attack as well as Australia-based Joice Takaidza, goal-attack Ursula Ndlovu and Sharon Bwanali.
The Gems’ coach said they are impressed with the positive attitude from the players.
“I can safely say that it’s very easy to psyche them up. The other thing is playing at the World Cup is enough motivation. I can say they are already psyched up by the fact that they are playing at the World Cup for the first time,” Makunde said.
The Gems coach also said they are expecting team captain Perpetua Siyachitema back as she was set to join the rest of the team for the evening session after being rested earlier in the day following an injury to her right shoulder on Sunday.
“She is almost okay. She was just told to rest this morning but in the late training session she will be able to play. Team doctor Patience Maramba said they will assess the captain again tomorrow to see if she can play in Friday’s opening match against Sri Lanka.
“She pulled a muscle, the supraspinatus muscle of the shoulder and currently she is stable and we are just resting the arm. We hope by Friday she would have recovered.
“We would do another test on Thursday before the game and assess if she can play but the outlook looks good,” said Maramba.