ZIMBABWE bounced back to winning ways yesterday as they concluded their participation at the Africa Netball Cup with a 57-46 victory over Kenya in Windhoek, Namibia.
The tournament ends today but, for the Gems, their last game was yesterday in the nine-team competition, played in a round-robin format.
Zimbabwe took the first quarter 16-8 and went into half time leading 31-22.
Although Kenya gave them a good contest, the Gems managed to stretch their lead to 12 goals in the third quarter, as they produced an improved show, from Sunday’s loss against Botswana.
The Gems needed a win to keep their hopes, for a top four finish, alive.
They have to wait for today’s matches to know their overall position.
Zimbabwe coach, Lloyd Makunde, was pleased with the outcome and is hoping they will make the top four.
“The team had a bit of rest after the two games we played against Uganda and Zambia, so they played much better,” he said.
“They defended as a team and attacked as a team.
“We need to see how Zambia and Namibia play to know the placements, but it has boosted our chances of a top four finish.”
In today’s matches, defending champions South Africa take on Namibia, while Malawi have a date against Uganda.
After beating Uganda 57-37, to claim their seventh straight win, South Africa are on course to retain the title.
Malawi clash with Uganda in what promises to be an interesting encounter as the two teams are fighting for second position.
Kenya are up against Zambia.
Zimbabwe has embarked on a rebuilding exercise for the senior side.
And, Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Letitia Chipandu, said it has been a good experience for the team to compete at the Pent Series and Africa Netball Cup.
“We are very happy for this win because it’s going to add towards our points and more so our world ranking.
“Let me say it was one of the best games the girls played after having lost to Botswana because of fatigue.
“I am happy to say that this was a very necessary experience for the girls.
“Yes, the playing days were many, from the Pent Series five days to eight days of playing continuously, and playing two games at times per day, for a very young team like ours.
“It was a trying time but I want to say the girls did rise to the occasion. We did not win as much as we had expected but all the same we are happy.
“This is really going to motivate the youngsters to want to train to keep fit for the next encounter,” Chipandu said.
She said they will address the areas where the team fell short during the two competitions.
“We hope to perhaps get more tournaments where the girls can continue training.
“This was an enjoyable encounter and I am happy for the win, the girls are very happy,” said Chipandu.