Gems rebuilding charms Makunde Gems coach Lloyd Makunde

Ellina Mhlanga Seniors Sports Reporter

GEMS coach, Lloyd Makunde, is confident that with more time, their rebuilding exercise will bear fruit.

He believes there were many positives they picked during the Africa Cup Netball and Pent Series in Windhoek, Namibia.

The Gems were ranked fifth, at the end of the Africa Cup, on Tuesday.

At the Pent Series, which preceded the continental tournament, Zimbabwe walked away with a bronze medal.

As they return home, the Gems know they have a lot of work to do if they are be in a position to challenge for qualification, to the 2023 World Cup, in South Africa.

The qualifiers are expected to take place next year.

And, as part of their build-up, Zimbabwe have started a rebuilding exercise, since some of the players who helped the team qualify for the 2019 edition, have since left.

Makunde conceded they have a huge task to ensure they have a formidable team in place next year.

“We have observed that the team was not fit because of the inactivity,’’ he said.

“The team needs to understand each other quickly.

“There are many positives in the team but we need put a lot of work before the qualifiers.

“We need more time with this young team and as I said there’s a lot of work to be done since we now know our shortcomings.

“We observed a lot of errors we made so we will be working on that. We need to improve in all areas.”

The likes of Nobukhosi Ndlovu, who just graduated from the Under-21 side, Lynnette Tanhira and Priscilla Ndlovu, are some of the new players who joined the senior side, for the two assignments, in Namibia.

Centre Ndlovu was outstanding.

“She is a gem and I think she will go very far,’’ said Makunde.

“They (new players) are quite impressive.

“The youngsters are hungry to play, and succeed, so we are going to bring more deserving talent, to compete for places.

“We need to get into camp, as soon as possible, to work with the team.

“I think, overall, the team played fairly, considering that we are rebuilding the team towards the World Cup qualifiers.’’

The technical team will be hoping, there will be more competition next year, locally, with leagues returning to their normal schedule.

This will help keep players active and competitive.

Speaking after the team’s last game at the Africa Cup on Monday, Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Letitia Chipandu, said it was a good experience for the team.

“I am happy to say that this was a very necessary experience for the girls.

“For us, as the Zimbabwe Netball Association, I am talking about the technical committee that’s work, going back to the drawing board after the assessments, and then finding solutions by way of recruiting, by way of continuous training.

“We hope to perhaps get more tournaments where the girls can continue training,” said Chipandu.

The senior national netball team are expected back home today.

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