Gems in losing start

HARARE – The Zimbabwe national netball team lost their opening match at the ongoing Africa Championship Tournament in Uganda on Sunday.

The Gems lost to Malawi 45 – 55 in a tough encounter.

Zimbabwe Netball Association (Zina) secretary general Barbra Rice, however, expressed confidence the girls can still leave a mark at the tournament.

“The girls were in camp for five full weeks. This is only a minor setback and we are hoping the girls can bounce back and win their matches against Botswana, Uganda, Zambia and Namibia,” Rice said.

“Our preparations went well and we are confident this team will not exit the tournament empty handed.”

The competition is played in a round robin format with all participating teams taking each other on.

Uganda is one of the form teams and as hosts are expected to do well, though like Zimbabwe, the team has suffered a fair share of financial troubles.

Ranked number 16 in the world, Zimbabwe is regarded as a formidable side on the continent.

They meet neighbours Zambia in their second match of the tournament this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the national Under 21 side is set to leave for the Netball World Youth Cup tournament set for Gaborone, Botswana next Monday.

“Just like the senior national team, the girls have been in camp for more than five weeks now,” Rice said.

“The preparations have gone well and we are confident we are going to do well. This is a talented squad and considering the magnitude of the tournament, it provides the girls with an ideal platform to showcase their talent and market themselves as well.

“As Zina, we are appealing to the corporate world to come on board and assist the girls so that they can concentrate on representing the country without worrying about their upkeep and welfare.”

Today

Zambia v Zimbabwe (2pm), Malawi v Namibia (4pm)

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