BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO Zimbabwe Under-21 ladies field hockey team coach Tendai Maredza has appealed for more investment in developing local players so that they can be competitive at international stages following the team’s 18-0 defeat to Netherlands at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa on Monday.
The defeat left Zimbabwe sitting third on the log having won one match against Canada and losing to the US in the other matches.
Having made an impressive start to their campaign by beating Canada 2-1 on Friday, the team failed to maintain its momentum when it suffered a 5-0 defeat against the United States on Saturday before the humiliation by Netherlands on Monday.
Maredza believes that better preparations in the near future will help the team achieve better results.
“For the upcoming tournaments, we need to invest more in our development structures, invest financially into our teams to get them to prepare better. We can see in this tournament that these teams are well-prepared, even the management teams that they bring across and the technology that they have, it is something we are lacking and we need to invest more as we prepare for upcoming tournaments,” Maredza said.
Reflecting on their last defeat, Maredza said he was impressed by the girls’ performance especially in the first quarter where Netherlands only scored a single goal.
“Yesterday (Monday)’s game was a tough one, we were playing the world champions, but we held our own in the first quarter. Things didn’t go well in the last three quarters, but we are proud of the girls, they fought well. It was a learning curve for us and we take those lessons and move forward,” he said.
Zimbabwe will play their next match on Saturday where they will be playing for 9th to 12th placing.
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“All our supporters thank you very much for the support, keep supporting us. We are now playing for ninth to 12th position. We hope we can finish in the top ten. So keep supporting us and we thank you very much,” Maredza said.
This will be the highest ranking by a Zimbabwean team at the Junior World Cup having previously finished in 16th place in its last three World Cup appearances.
lFollow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo