Brighton Zhawi in GABORONE, Botswana
The Zimbabwe netball Gems are the new African Champions after easing past Tanzania in their final round-robin match at the Botswana Netball Courts yesterday.
The Gems completed their unbeaten run in this fifth edition of the tournament with a facile 37-28 win over Tanzania.
After waking up sad news that forward player Netsai Muchemwa had lost her brother, the Zimbabwe team showed great mettle to finish the job at hand.
Muchemwa left for Harare yesterday morning and her loss came two days after the team manager Petronella Gonye also returned home after the passing on of her mother-in-law.
Even after the final whistle the team’s celebrations were mild also because energetic centre Ndaizivei Madzikangava was injured out after landing on her elbow.
She was taken for scans soon after the match.
Zimbabwe were in a decent start winning the first set 11-8 but they did not play their best game.
Passing was wayward at times and that affected the mid-court play with little co-ordination, but more importantly the result was in their favour.
The second stanza was more like the first with frequent loss of position from both teams and at half-time Zimbabwe led 19-14.
They maintained their control of the match with help of some awful shooting from their opponents and it was no surprise that they clinched the third set 30- 18.
Tanzania threw everything in the deciding set, as they sought their first win of the tourney.
They were given hope when Zimbabwe’s wing defence, Yvonne Madzikangava was sent out by the umpire for persistent fouls.
She set out for three goals and when she returned her sister Ndaizivei went the opposite way after injuring her elbow.
Tanzania won the last set 8-7, but that could not stop the Gems from claiming their first African Championship title.
They began their campaign with a 49-35 win over Swaziland then followed with a 47-47 draw against the hosts and the important win was the 51-49 triumph over Zambia.