The Zimbabwe netball team is hell-bent on making a name for themselves and redefining the local sports scene that has for too long been dominated by soccer, especially men’s soccer.
The senior netball team recently raised the Zimbabwean flag up high when they won a tri-nation series in Hong Kong beating the host country and Malaysia to bag their trophy.
Team Captain Perpetua Siyachitema says this platform gave them confidence and helped polish their skills as they were given an opportunity to play against players from Australia who are the top ranked team globally.
“We are excited that we managed to shrug off such stiff competition, their play was definitely different from what we are used to, they were much faster and the girls there are much taller, but we managed to maximise on their weaknesses as their long range passing made them prone to mistakes making it easier for our girls to intercept the ball. We focused on short and accurate passes also leveraging on bounce passes therefore taking advantage of their height,” said Siyachitema.
The team is now in camp in preparation for another tournament in Uganda where they are expected to defend their title as African champions in June this year. A team of 18 girls is training ahead of this tournament and confidence is high that Zimbabwe will defend its title.
Leticia Chipandu the Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZINA) President says the girls are well prepared however more sponsorship is needed to motivate the team.
“Netball as of yet does not have much sponsorship and we would encourage sponsors to come on board so that more girls can venture into the sport.
“Winning on international platforms should not be the only time the sport is given attention, it would be good for local supporters to come through to Morris Depot during weekends to watch the girls play during local tournaments. Moral support goes a long way”, explained Chipandu.
The under 21 team for the younger girls are also making waves after qualifying for the World Youth cup in Botswana set for July this year. The girls are already in camp as they polish their skills and soon face four countries in a bid to improve their international ranking.