Zimbabwe target top four finish

Zimbabwe are targeting a top four finish at the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town after naming an experienced squad. The tournament will be held at the CTICC from 28 July to 6 August, where 16 of the world’s best netball countries will vie to be world champions.

Zimbabwe’s final squad of 15 players was unveiled at an event held at a local hotel in Harare. England-based Zimbabwe netball team captain Felistus Kwangwa will lead an experienced Gems side which includes seven players who represented the country at the previous World Cup in Liverpool four years ago.

Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki said he was happy that the spine of the team from four years ago had remained intact as he targets a top four finish in Cape Town.

Zimbabwe finished eighth on their World Cup debut four years ago.“It wasn’t easy to come up with the final team but when you are training it becomes easy to assess who is the best. I’m happy that we have managed to retain at least seven players from the previous World Cup team and that’s important in terms of our play,” Mutsauki said. “We are expecting to improve from our previous eighth position up to fourth position going upwards.” 

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Thokozile Chitepo, who was the guest speaker at the ceremony, pledged government’s support. While the government is yet to reveal its financial package towards the World Cup campaign, SRC Director General Eltah Nengomasha said the budget would be announced in due course.

“We are in support of what the Gems have done … now that they have qualified, we are working with them and we already have their budget and we acknowledge the input which the corporates have put in place,” Nengomasha said.

“As our core in sport, lets continue having partnerships that add value. I would like to assure the nation at large that the government of Zimbabwe is in support of the Gems,” said Nengomasha.

Besides Nedbank Zimbabwe, who are the official sponsors for the Gems, other corporates who have come on board to support the team include Schweppes Zimbabwe, Cresta Oasis and National Foods.

This story first appeared in newsday.co.zw