Gems intensify World Cup qualifiers preps

08 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Gems intensify World  Cup qualifiers preps Joice Takaidza

The Herald

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

WITH the Netball World Cup qualifiers getting closer, it appears the Gems technical team is going for experience as they have roped in Australia-based goal shooter Joice Takaidza.

The qualifiers are scheduled for August 20 to 27 in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Gems took a four-day break last week before they regrouped on Friday at Girls High School with 15 players being named for the final phase of preparations including Takaidza.

Two players — Yeukai Chamba and Lynette Tanhira — were dropped.

Takaidza was not part of the squad that was in camp last month. However, the technical team has been making adjustments to strengthen all departments including their shooting and they have gone for experience in Takaidza.

She was part of team that competed at the World Cup in Liverpool, in 2019, where she proved herself as one of the top players for the Gems.

She then joined the team for the Africa Cup in South Africa, in the same year. However, she was not part of the team at last year’s Pent Series and Africa Cup in Namibia as the Gems retuned to action after a two-year break due to Covid-19.

She also missed the Confederation of Southern Africa Netball Associations Tri-nations held in Malawi in June.

Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki said they are optimistic and counting on her experience.

“What is so important on Joice is that she is tall and has been active. Her height is very important to the team because if we can have one or two tall players in the team, who are shooters it also puts pressure on the opponent, that’s why we called her.

“Her presence is important because she is an experienced player and that experience we need it in the team,” said Mutsauki.

It’s not yet certain whether she will join camp in Harare or she will meet the team in South Africa since she is still processing her papers.

She joins captain Felisitus Kwangwa, Ursula Ndlovu, Patricia Mauladi, Tanaka Makusha and Sharon Bwanali, who all played at the 2019 World Cup.

The pair of Priscilla Ndlovu and Progress Moyo are sitting for exams and will join the rest of the team soon.

“Right now we have 12 players, they are in camp and we are expecting two more to join camp any time soon.

“We are working more on the midcourt because every game is built around the midcourt. So we will focus more on that area, and defence. So far shooting is much better, we are looking at the statistics we have and it’s looking positive.

“The team is shaping up well, we have more combinations, so it looks promising,” said Mutsauki.

The top two teams from the tournament qualify for next year’’s World Cup to be staged in South Africa.

South Africa and Uganda have already qualified by virtue of being hosts and rankings. So the rest of the participating nations will be competing for the two remaining slots.

Zimbabwe are up against Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana in Pool A.

Pool B consists of Uganda, Eswatini, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia.

The top two from each pool proceed to the semi-final.

“The fixture is out, so we now know which team we are starting with and we are now working on the strategy to win the first game because it’s important to win the first game when playing in a tournament. If you win it motivates the team and puts pressure on the next opponent,” said Mutsauki.

 Team

Felisitus Kwangwa, Claris Kwaramba, Priscilla Ndlovu, Tanaka Makusha, Elizabeth Mushore, Tafadzwa Matura, Joice Takaidza, Chipo Shoko, Nicole Muzanenhamo, Progress Moyo, Sharon Bwanali, Nobukhosi Ndlovu, Beaula Hlungwani, Ursula Ndlovu, Patricia Mauladi.

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