By Tadious Manyepo
THE Zimbabwe korfball team have underlined their growing status as one of the game’s continental heavyweights after they booked a maiden World Cup berth though they narrowly missed the International Korfball Federation All-Africa Championships prize.
The tournament was held at Chitungwiza Aquatics Complex over the weekend. However, that success was soiled by reports that the triumphant players received only $1 each, which was transferred through their Ecocash platforms, for their transport back home.
ZTV reported last night that the players received only $1 for their success story.
The IKF All Africa Championships doubled up as the 2019 World Cup qualifier and three countries – Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – battled for honours in the mixed-sex sport across the globe.
The World Cup will be held in Durban, South Africa, and the South Africans came into the continental championships knowing they had already in the World Cup qualified by virtue of being the hosts.
This left Zambia and Zimbabwe to fight for the other African slot at the global showpiece.
And Zimbabwe, who roped in the services of internationally-acclaimed korfball coach Corinne Buckland as their technical director ahead of the fiesta, pipped their northern neighbours for the right to join South Africa in 2019. And after two days of intense action, South Africa topped the three-team log to win the IKF All Africa Championship crown while Zimbabwe, who demolished a Lydia Kaira-inspired Zambia 28-6, settled for silver and crucially booked a ticket to the World Cup for the first time.
Head coach Percy Samugadza was delighted by his team’s performance.
“It was always going to be tough for us. We don’t have a running korfball league in this country and for the technical team to run around and pick some players was obviously not very easy,” said Samugadza.
“We trained hard and I am happy we have managed to put our country on the world korfball map.
“It was a culmination of hard work and I would like to salute my players for playing according to instructions.
“There were some technical aspects of the game where we never thought the players would cope in that high-pressure tournament but, well they did that with distinction.”
Zimbabwe Korfball Federation chief executive, More Moyo, appealed to the corporate world to come on board as the team prepares for their historic participation at the World Cup.