THE Young Gems are aiming for a winning start when the Africa Netball World Youth Cup qualifiers roar into life at the University of Botswana today. Zimbabwe’s national Under 21 side is joined by South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana at the Gaborone qualifiers where three tickets to the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup are at stake. By Brighton Zhawi in GABORONE, Botswana
The revised fixture for the opening clashes was not yet advised by late last night. However, Young Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki was upbeat about his charges’ chances of qualifying for the World Youth Cup when he spoke to The Sunday Mail yesterday afternoon.
“Winning our opening game is very important in giving us confidence as well as motivating us,” he said. “We want to maintain our recent history of being champions. Our aim is to win this tournament,” Mutsauki said.
Zimbabwe’s senior netball team are the reigning Africa Netball champions and the youth team is itching to emulate that feat by qualifying for the World Youth Cup finals. The Young Gems go into the qualifiers as Region V Games champions which could be a psychological boost for the ladies.
Team captain Felistus Kwangwa who was part of both the senior team that won the African championship and Region V Games echoed her coach’s sentiments. “The girls are aiming high…they want to finish at the top. We want to maintain the winning spirit that started last year, “she said.
Zimbabwe Netball president Letitia Chipandu believe the tournament is a ’golden opportunity’ for the girls. “It is good exposure for the girls and by playing more tournaments they will become better. “Here is a golden opportunity to play at highest level and shine for the country and themselves,” she said.
Felistus Kwangwa, Sharon Bwanali, Lynette Tanhira, Nomagugu Makhalima, Vimbainashe Chirinda, Ropafadzo Muhwira, Patricia Mulaudi, Prisca Chinyama, Sanele Ncube, Eunice Nyasaland