The Zimbabwe senior netball team, the Gems, opened their Spar Diamond Challenge Cup campaign with a 55-50 loss to South Africa’s President’s XII.
The tournament began yesterday in Pretoria, South Africa and will end on Saturday with four teams taking part in the competition — Scotland, Zimbabwe and South Africa’s two sides, the Spar Proteas and the President’s XII.
The Gems are targeting to build up a competitive team as they prepare for the 2023 Netball World Cup which will be staged in Cape Town, South Africa.
Zimbabwe trailed by two points at the end of the first quarter and matters did not improve thereon, with the President's XII leading 28-24 at half time.
Although the Gems managed to catch up with the South African side, inconsistency cost them dearly.
In the third quarter, Ursula Ndlovu came in for Tafadzwa Matura, but Sharon Bwanali suffered an injury a few minutes into the quarter, forcing Matura to make a return.
The home side stretched its lead to 41-36, a five-point gap which they maintained to the end.
Speaking after the match, Gems assistant coach Tatenda Shinya said the injuries suffered by his side contributed to the loss after two stars, Sharon Bwanali and the team captain Felistus Kwangwa were forced off the pitch by injuries.
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“The injuries made a lot of impact in our game today. We also made a lot of errors especially on the shooting circle. So, it was a bad day for us but we know how to work on that in our next game,” Shinya said.
“We managed to utilise our ball especially in the midcourt and we improved a lot in the second quarter up to the last quarter but our mistakes were upfront. So, we need to go back to the drawing board and work on the mistakes and come back stronger (today).”
The Gems will face South Africa today.
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