Gems geared for World Cup qualifiers

18 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Gems geared for World Cup qualifiers

The Herald

Ellina Mhlanga 

Senior Sports Reporter 

AS the countdown to the Netball World Cup qualifiers begins, Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki says they are ready for the competition that begins this weekend in Pretoria, South Africa. 

The African countries meet in Pretoria from August 20 to 27 for the qualifying event. 

South Africa are also the hosts for the 2023 Netball World Cup. The best two countries from the qualifiers will join South Africa and Uganda who have already qualified for the global tournament as hosts and through their world ranking respectively. 

“The team is ready for the games. Right now every player is ready to play this tournament and well prepared for the games and their mind is focusing on the first game. I am happy with the attitude, they are hungry for the games. 

“What is left now is to push and to support the team or to support the players, to build up their minds so that they are focused with the first game. 

“All along we have been working on each department and I think there is notable improvements from when we started and comparing with some games we played in Malawi.

“Right now even their fitness level is looking good. They have been doing well against the men’s sides that we have been engaging and I think they are ready to compete. Of course, fitness level may be 50-50 but what is so important is the tactic and our game approach, it will separate the teams. 

“From our plan so far, we are satisfied and we are happy,” said Mutsauki. 

Ten countries are expected to participate in the qualifiers and have been divided into two pools. According to the fixture released recently, Zimbabwe, who are being sponsored by Spar Zimbabwe, get their campaign rolling against Tanzania on Monday in Pool A. 

They will then face Namibia the following day before taking on South Africa and Botswana on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Pool B is made up of Uganda, Eswatini, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia. 

The top two teams in each pool proceed to the semi-finals. Mutsauki emphasised the importance of the first game and the need for them to get a positive result. 

“They need our support as the technical department and we will keep talking to them so that they don’t relax because the first game is very important and it’s very tricky . . . So we keep on talking to the players and motivating them. 

“We just need to boost their morale and mindset so that they focus on the game and just concentrate on the task at hand. Right now their morale is high and they are eager to play.

“So far we have no serious injuries except for Chipo (Shoko) who has a minor injury. She has been resting, so we hope by the time we get to South Africa she will be okay,” Mutsauki said. 

The team was expected to leave yesterday but there have been some changes to their departure schedule. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe retained their 13th position according to the latest World Netball world rankings that were released early this week.

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