Gems step up World Cup preps

Zimbabwe’s netball team coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki

WITH just over a month left before the start of the Vitality Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, Zimbabwe’s netball team coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki has intensified his team's preparations with more focus on coming up with the right combinations before the global tournament.

The Gems were expected to kickstart their final pre-World Cup camp early May, but only resumed on Sunday due to financial constraints.

In an interview with NewsDay Sport, Mutsauki said that they are now putting more emphasis on team tactics ahead of the global competition pencilled for July 18 to August 6.

“We are looking forward to creating the right combinations — that's our main focus because with the time left now, I think we now need to focus more on ball work.

“Looking at the fitness level of our players, they are looking fit, they are doing well and the movement is there since all players were currently active as the season is still underway,” said Mutsauki.

“The team is already shaping up because now if we look from our first camp, we trained and reached a certain level. This helped us to create some combinations and they are the ones we are now working on and perfecting.”

The seasoned coach is also expecting his preparations to be boosted by the arrival of foreign-based stars such as England-based skipper Felisitus Kwangwa.

“From the first of July, we are looking forward to our foreign-based players to be here so that we can train together as a team. I'm happy that  they are already active  since they are also playing in their respective leagues.”

Zimbabwe recently named a provisional squad of 21 players which will be trimmed down to represent the country at the World Cup.

“When it comes to trimming down of players, it’s not like some players will leave camp as we go, but we will remain with the whole team till our departure because we still want to create competition at the moment,” he said.

After finishing eighth in 2019, the Gems are targeting a top-four finish this time around.

Zimbabwe is appearing at this global meet for the second time after their maiden appearance in the 2019 Vitality Netball Cup in Liverpool.

The Gems were drawn in Pool A together with Fiji, Tonga and the  defending champions and world number one-ranked Australia.

Provisional squad

Claris Kwaramba, Priscilla Ndlovu, Progress Moyo, Elizabeth Mushore, Paidamoyo Tinoza, Tanaka Makusha, Ursula Ndlovu, Beaulla Hlungwane, Tafadzwa Mawango, Nicole Muzanenhamo, Thandekile Mahlangu, Thandazile Ndhlovu, Tafadzwa Matura, Sharon Bwanali, Patricia Mauladi, Lorraine Manjoro, Lesibane Munjanji Karaso, TakadanaIshe Zimusi, Joice Takaidza, Felistus Kwangwa and Nalani Makunde

Team manager: Agnes Chiroodza

Head coach: Ropafadzo Mutsauki

1st assistant coach: Wisdom Shinya

2nd Assistant coach: Tapiwa Chirenda

Physiotherapist: Nyembesi Kwava

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