Gems prepare for Africa Netball champs

The tournament is scheduled for November 26 to December 6 in Gaborone, Botswana.

With the 13th edition of the Africa Netball Championships drawing close, the Gems coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki is now working on player combinations,  physical and mental fitness as they seek to make a mark at the competition.

The tournament is scheduled for November 26 to December 6 in Gaborone, Botswana.

The team has been in camp for almost three weeks now with a total of 22 players making the provisional squad. So far, only Elizabeth Mushore is yet to join camp as she is currently writing her examinations.

Mushore made her debut appearance for the Gems during the Netball World Cup this year in Cape Town and finished  the campaign among the top defenders and at one point scooped the player of the match award.

Going into this competition, the team is targeting a top-three finish and are focusing on correcting some of the mistakes they made during the World Cup campaign.

"All is going on well so far, we can't complain. We are happy that almost everyone is in camp now except Elizabeth who is still committed to her exams. Since most players are now in camp, it gives us some time to work on player fitness and some aspects of the game which is key when engaging in such competitions. We want to create as many combinations as possible, not leaving out the issue of players' mental health," said Mutsauki.

"We came from the World Cup a few months ago and it was a major highlight on what we should work on as a team. We have mantained most of the players and had some few additions  so as to boost and beef up our team for this assignment."

There are two minor injuries in the camp, but Mutsauki is not worried.

“We just have two minor injuries of Nicole Muzanenhamo and Tafadzwa Mawango, but it’s not something to worry about because  we believe that in the next two to three days they will be okay and ready to take the court again. Otherwise the rest of the team is doing well," he said.

Meanwhile, this year's edition will also see the men's teams competing and Zimbabwe will be part of the tounament for the first time.

The men's team coach Tapiwa Chirenda said though they have not yet started their camp, they have been conducting daily sessions  and engaging the Gems who are already in camp.

”We are not in camp yet but we are most likely to start our camp tomorrow. We have been having our sessions on a daily basis, coming from home and  also playing against  the Gems as we continue our preparations. This will help us when we start our camp — we will  be having an idea on what to focus on," said Chirenda.

"We had some time to assess and analyse the games played by our opponents so as to prepare ourselves. I think we are the only country which was not fully imvested in men's netball and this year's competition will be a huge milestone for men's netball in the country."

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