The Zimbabwe senior netball team is targeting a top-four finish at the upcoming 2023 Netball World Cup which will be staged in Cape Town, South Africa, next year.
For the first time in history, the global showpiece will be hosted in Africa since its inception in 1963.
The Gems booked their ticket for the global showpiece in August when they finished third at the Africa Netball qualifiers in Pretoria, South Africa — just behind Malawi and South Africa who had already qualified by virtue of being hosts.
Speaking at a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Netball Association president Letitia Chipandu said the Gems realised their potential in their maiden appearance at the 2019 Netball World Cup in England where Zimbabwe finished eighth.
This time around, the target is to push for a top-four finish.
“Liverpool is a legacy that remains in our heart and not just as a memory. A memory that we have stood on and has motivated us to believe that we can do more, that we can do better than a top-eight finish, that we can stand head and shoulders against the best netball teams in the world and compete at the highest. It is this belief that motivated us to fight and qualify for the Netball World Cup 2023,” said Chipandu.
“The road wasn’t easy but we qualified. We had to beat Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and now join the hosts South Africa, Uganda and Malawi as four countries that represent Africa. For you to understand that please remember there are 54 countries in Africa.”
Moving forward in preparation for the World Cup, Chipandu called for support from the corporate world and the nation at large in order to make the top-four target a reality.
“It is my pleasure today to be here with you as we launch the Gems Road to Cape Town, but for us to do that we need all the support we can get from every stakeholder. We cannot do this without you. We appeal to you to support us on this journey, support the girls.”
“Our vision is for netball players to own houses, cars and take care of their families. We have so much lined up until the World Cup,” she said.
Several corporates are already on board with Cresta Oasis Hotel already pledging to offer accomodation to the team next year at their newly-established hotel in Cape Town.
Main sponsor Spar Zimbabwe has also continued to rally behind the ladies as they have already donated foodstuffs to the team which is in camp in preparation for the upcoming Diamond Challenge Cup next month in Durban.
Zimbabwe will face top teams at this tournament — South Africa, Malawi and Scotland — a move which is meant to create a strong and competitive team fit for the global meet next year.
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