Down but not out

…GEMS coach says team has bright future

Shelly Guni

The Gems may have been inferior in a 43-49 defeat by President’s XII in the bronze medal match at the SPAR Diamond Challenge on Saturday, but their loss did not mark the end of an era, but they have a bright future, says assistant coach Tatenda Shinya.

Despite recently winning a slot at the 2023 Netball World Cup set for Cape Town, South Africa, next year, the Gems were outshone by an organized and clinical President’s XII at the Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria.

The Diamond Challenge is an invitational tournament held annually, but it was last held in 2018 before the 2019 World Cup.

It was later shelved following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Gems did not just miss out on the medals but also failed to grab the R100 000 prize money.

Netball tournaments usually don’t have monetary prizes, and this could have gone a long way for the Gems.

The Gems began their tournament campaign on Tuesday against the President’s XII and went on to suffer a humiliating 50–55 defeat.

President’s XII is more of a “team C” in South Africa; it mainly consists of rising stars and also serves as a pathway to the SPAR Proteas, which is the South Africa’s national senior netball team.

On Wednesday, the Gems played the SPAR Proteas and were brought down to earth after an embarrassing 72–37 defeat.

The teams took a break on Thursday, and action continued on Friday, which saw the Gems come from behind to snatch a point from the Scotland team.

The Gems showed a great fighting spirit and did not give up. The game was theirs to win, but they also suffered some dubious calls from the umpires.

This is despite the fact that Shinya had previously publicly criticized the officials, whom he felt were protecting the South African side.

“As a team, we did well, but winning a game was going to be nice because we deserved it.” “Our players were frustrated by the whistle, and it took them a long time to adjust,” Shinya told Review and Mail Sport.

“This tournament was very important to us as we managed to learn a lot of things from all the teams we played against.

“We managed to see all the players (15) that we had taken to the tournament play. Everyone’s performance was above average, with some getting a 9/10 rating.”

Four players made their debuts during this tournament. A great stride is taken in the Gems camp as they continue with their preparations for the Netball World Cup.

The players are Thandazile Ndlovu, Thandekile Mahlangu, Takadanaishe Zimusi, and Rudo Simbi.

Only nine players from the squad that competed in the World Cup qualifiers took part in this tournament. These are:

Tafadzwa Matura, Sharon Bwanali, Felisitus Kwangwa, Tanaka Makusha, Elizabeth Mushore, Nobukhosi Ndlovu, Ursula Ndlovu, and Nicole Muzanenamo

Bwanali, however, was ruled out of the tournament after suffering an injury during the opening match. She was then replaced by Lynnette Tanhira,

Tanhira was in the Gems camp that prepared for the qualifiers but was chopped.

Also making a return to the squad was Kudakwashe Muchongwe.

Unlike in the other tournament, teams were allowed to rotate their players.

“We used all the players because we wanted everyone to have exposure, and it was part of testing as we look forward to the preparation for the World Cup.”

Shinya gave credit to the new players for putting up an impressive performance.

“Players who made their debuts did very well considering the level of competition and pressure, with Assah doing the unbelievable, Rudo standing against Msomi (Bongiwe, SPAR Proteas captain), Kuda doing well as wing defense, Thandazile doing the needful, scoring at 100% against SA, and Thandekile doing well on center, which is a good sign for us in preparation for the World Cup because we now have depth.”

The assistant coach is happy with the overall performance of the team.

“We managed to work under pressure coming from behind to get a draw against Scotland because of the rotation in position within the team, which is good to have utility players.”

Down but not out- GEMS coach says team has bright future

Shelly Guni

The Gems may have been inferior in a 43-49 defeat by President’s XII in the bronze medal match at the SPAR Diamond Challenge on Saturday, but their loss did not mark the end of an era, and they have a bright future, says assistant coach Tatenda Shinya.

Despite recently winning a slot at the 2023 Netball World Cup set for Cape Town, South Africa, next year, the Gems were outshone by an organized and clinical President’s XII at the Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria.

The Diamond Challenge is an invitational tournament held annually, but it was last held in 2018 before the 2019 World Cup.

It was later shelved following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Gems did not just miss out on the medals but also failed to grab the R100 000 prize money which was eventually won by South Africa.

Netball tournaments usually don’t have monetary prizes, and this could have gone a long way for the Gems.

The Gems began their tournament campaign on Tuesday against the President’s XII and went on to suffer a humiliating 50–55 defeat.

President’s XII is more of a “team C” in South Africa; it mainly consists of rising stars and also serves as a pathway to the SPAR Proteas, which is the South Africa’s national senior netball team.

On Wednesday, the Gems played the SPAR Proteas and were brought down to earth after an embarrassing 72–37 defeat.

The teams took a break on Thursday, and action continued on Friday, which saw the Gems come from behind to snatch a point from the Scotland team.

The Gems showed a great fighting spirit and did not give up. The game was theirs to win, but they also suffered some dubious calls from the umpires.

This is despite the fact that Shinya had previously publicly criticized the officials, whom he felt were protecting the South African side.

“As a team, we did well, but winning a game was going to be nice because we deserved it.” “Our players were frustrated by the whistle, and it took them a long time to adjust,” Shinya told Review and Mail Sport.

“This tournament was very important to us as we managed to learn a lot of things from all the teams we played against.

“We managed to see all the players (15) that we had taken to the tournament play. Everyone’s performance was above average, with some getting a 9/10 rating.”

Four players made their debuts during this tournament. A great stride is taken in the Gems camp as they continue with their preparations for the Netball World Cup.

The players are Thandazile Ndlovu, Thandekile Mahlangu, Takadanaishe Zimusi, and Rudo Simbi.

Only nine players from the squad that competed in the World Cup qualifiers took part in this tournament. These are:

Tafadzwa Matura, Sharon Bwanali, Felisitus Kwangwa, Tanaka Makusha, Elizabeth Mushore, Nobukhosi Ndlovu, Ursula Ndlovu, and Nicole Muzanenamo

Bwanali, however, was ruled out of the tournament after suffering an injury during the opening match. She was then replaced by Lynnette Tanhira,

Tanhira was in the Gems camp that prepared for the qualifiers but was chopped.

Also making a return to the squad was Kudakwashe Muchongwe.

Unlike in the other tournament, teams were allowed to rotate their players.

“We used all the players because we wanted everyone to have exposure, and it was part of testing as we look forward to the preparation for the World Cup.”

Shinya gave credit to the new players for putting up an impressive performance.

“Players who made their debuts did very well considering the level of competition and pressure, with Assah doing the unbelievable, Rudo standing against Msomi (Bongiwe, SPAR Proteas captain), Kuda doing well as wing defense, Thandazile doing the needful, scoring at 100% against SA, and Thandekile doing well on center, which is a good sign for us in preparation for the World Cup because we now have depth.”

The assistant coach is happy with the overall performance of the team.

“We managed to work under pressure coming from behind to get a draw against Scotland because of the rotation in position within the team, which is good to have utility players.”

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