Gems expected to regroup this weekend RACING AGAINST TIME . . . The Zimbabwe senior women’s netball team is expected to begin camp this weekend to prepare for the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup to be held in South Africa late next month

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

THE senior national netball team is expected to regroup this weekend in Harare to resume their preparations for the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The Vitality Netball World Cup is scheduled for July 28 to August 6 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The upcoming camp is expected to run until the team’s departure next month.

Zimbabwe Netball Association public relations and sponsorship manager Maimba Mapuranga confirmed the team is scheduled to go into camp on Sunday at Girls High School.

“The girls will be getting into camp on Sunday… and training will start on Monday,” said Mapuranga ZINA president Letitia Chipandu said the camp will run until the team’s departure.

“There isn’t much time for us to break. But there will be continuous screening until we have the required number.”  The foreign-based players such as captain Felisitus Kwangwa are expected to join the camp at the beginning of July.  The Gems were expected to regroup last month but there were delays due to financial constraints.

Chipandu said there was still time to prepare the team and were scheduled to play some friendly games when they get to South Africa.

They are expecting to play England, Barbados, Scotland and Wales.

The national association had hoped for some friendly games before the team leaves for South Africa and indications were that they had engaged Malawi and Uganda.

However, Chipandu, yesterday said they were taking it one day at a time, assessing the possibilities.

“I think there is time to salvage whatever we need to do. I mean we (are) looking at 30 days of continuous training, competing with some of the teams in the league, the male national team and then leaving earlier for four friendlies in Cape Town. I think this should do the trick

“We are taking it one day at a time and see our possibilities as we move on. But I can’t confirm whether we will be going to Malawi or Malawi will be coming here but we will update as we move on.

“Our main thrust is to get our team ready in terms of training and preparing. We will take it one day at a time as we move on and see how we can manoeuvre our situation for the best,” said Chipandu.

So far Nedbank have come on board with a US$50 000 sponsorship package for the team.

The ZINA president is hopeful of other sponsors joining hands with the national association ahead of their participation at the global showpiece.

“Let me say honestly, this is something we have always been prepared for… I mean resources have never been enough for anything or for anyone, so our policy is really to work with what we have and do the best we can with what we have.

“Resources will come. We know as we move towards the World Cup, the hype gets up and I am very sure more people will come in just like what happened when we went to Liverpool (for the 2019 World Cup). So from the look of things, that’s very likely to happen.

“And I mean the government is always there. We want to be very grateful to Government. But remember the Government has got 50-plus national associations that are feeding from the same plate. That’s why we also do fundraising, sourcing for funds, that kind of thing.

“And we want to thank Nedbank for coming on board just in time. They are very keen to see the girls through.

“And I am sure they will also even help us mobilise more than what they gave us. So we want to thank Nedbank for coming on board,” said Chipandu.

Zimbabwe will be making their second appearance at the World Cup and are up against Australia, Tonga and Fiji in Pool A, in the preliminary stages of the tournament.

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