Mobile services giant Econet Wireless has come to the rescue of the financially-strapped and World Cup-bound Zimbabwe national netball team by injecting just over ZWL$400 000 into the team’s coffers ahead of the global showcase in Liverpool, England, next month.
By Sports Reporter
The Gems have been moving around with their begging bowl to raise money to meet costs related to their participation at the tournament.
Having already received financial support from TelOne and material donation from the Australian embassy, yesterday they received a big boost, after Econet Wireless and its subsidiary Casava Samrtech came in with financial support.
The sponsorship package, which also includes the team’s kit, was unveiled at a function in Harare yesterday, where Econet Wireless presented a cheque of ZWL$222 500, while Casava donated ZWL$200 000.
At the prevailing official bank rate, the Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZNA) can convert that to about US$70 000 if they can find a willing seller on the interbank market.
Econet chief operating officer Fayaz King said they had heard about the Gems’ plight and decided to step in.
“We saw a video on social media of the Gems explaining their plight and their difficulties and we reached deep into our hearts, deep into our pockets and we said this cannot happen, not under our watch, not when we are here,” he said.
King said the Gems deserved all the support because they are one of the best team sport codes for the country.
“The Gems are ranked 13th in the world. This is one of the highest rankings we have of a Zimbabwe team sport. We believe that the Gems are champions by simply making it to the finals. I believe that all those in the diaspora will come and support the Gems.”
ZNA chairperson Leticia Chipandu said the sponsorship would help the team achieve its goals.
“There are so many people who heard our pleas, but they were not moved. I want to thank Econet, who are making our goals achievable,” she said.
“We will play Australia, Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland in our pool, and I can promise that we will qualify to the next round.”