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Zimbabwe netball team’s SA trip hangs in balance

Zimbabwe’s participation at the Africa Netball Championships, which get underway this Friday in Cape Town, hangs in the balance.

YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE . . . Members of the Zimbabwe senior netball team (from left) Melina Banda, Mercy Mukwadi, Stembile Chitiva, Tafadzwa Mawango and Beauty Sithole (in front) share a lighter moment as they leave the training facility at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, yesterday ahead of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup which gets underway on Friday. — (Picture by Ellina Mhlanga)
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE . . . Members of the Zimbabwe senior netball team (from left) Melina Banda, Mercy Mukwadi, Stembile Chitiva, Tafadzwa Mawango and Beauty Sithole (in front) share a lighter moment as they leave the training facility at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, ahead of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup. — (Picture by Ellina Mhlanga)

The national association are still to finalise logistics regarding the team’s preparations and travel arrangements.

The tournament runs until October 22 with eight countries, grouped into two pools, taking part. Zimbabwe were drawn against Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in Pool B.

Pool A features hosts South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho.

But the Zimbabwe Netball Association secretary-general, Barbara Rice, yesterday said they were not certain on the team’s preparations and travel arrangements as they were still working on the logistics.

“I will come back to you tomorrow morning (today) because we are still working on logistics,” said Rice.

It would be a sad development if the Gems, who punched above their weight to finish eighth at the Vitality Netball World Cup on their maiden appearance, miss the continental tournament.

Coach Lloyd Makunde has said he is targeting a podium finish at the event and believes they stand a good chance of making it beyond the group stages.

“On paper, the draw is the best that we could have wanted. Personally, I am very happy with the draw, so it actually increases our chances of a podium finish,” said Makunde.

However, the Gems coach is not underrating any team.

“Kenya is a very strong side and they have good funding, we beat them during the qualifiers and we won by only 10 goals.

“They have got very tall players, with an average height of 1.7m, and then we have Tanzania, who are unknown but, coming to the African Championships, means they are geared up for winning the tournament.

“So, it’s not that easy.

“Tanzania used to play and they were one of the best teams in Africa so, I believe, they have picked from where they left,” said Makunde.

Makunde said they would have preferred an early camp for the team. The Herald

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