Netball World Cup draw fair- Shinya

Shelly Guni

The route to glory at the Netball World Cup 2023 was on Wednesday mapped out at a packed East London ICC, South Africa.

The Gems are in pool A with eleven-time world champions Australia, Tonga, and Fiji.

South Africa, together with Australia, England, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Uganda got automatic qualification to the World Cup due to their world ranking.

Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the hosts South Africa, are the four team’s representing Africa at the 16th Edition of the global showcase.

This is the first time the netball world cup will be held on African soil.

The last edition was held in Liverpool, England.

And commenting on the draw, Gems assistant coach Tatenda Shinya said the draw was fair.

“The draw was fair, that was the best group that we would have wanted to win.

“Considering the other three groups having the powerhouses of netball.

Meaning our chances were tough to make it to the quarter finals.

“Group A gives us high hopes of qualifying, only Australia is a major threat to us.”

The Gems will be playing Australia for the second time after meeting in the group stage during the 2019 edition.

The match ended 73-37.

Should the game qualify to the quarter finals, they will meet the winners of group B which features England, Malawi, Scotland and Barbados.

“We are going to take each game seriously. We can’t say we are underdogs, just that top 8 was used for the automatic seeding, but we are a better side than Tonga.”

Shinya admitted that the road will not be an easy one. They need to be at their best to be able to achieve all their goals.

“We are not going to underrate any team, we just need to work extra hard which includes, our speed, and being clinical,

“But for us to improve, we need to have a minimum of six international friendlies with higher ranked teams, such as Wales, England, Jamaica, Malawi, Uganda and one of the Oceans teams. We are aiming for the top four.”

Former Gems captain Perpetua Siyachitema, who led the team during their maiden World Cup appearance in 2019 believes the team stand a chance to make it to the quarter finals but must just work hard.

“From all the groups that are there, I think it is the easiest group. We stand a chance to finish in the top two in our group and progress to the next round. This is despite the fact we don’t know a lot about the Tonga team.”

“I think most of the countries have started serious business. They should begin their camp as soon as possible so that they should start working on everything while also trying different combinations.”

Siyachitema reckons the importance of intensive preparations.

“We had many camps, as we were preparing for the World Cup in 2019, I guess you all saw the results.”

Commenting on the Gems’ encounter with Australia, Siyachitema said the team needs to train hard, and take each game as it comes, not overeating or undereating any team.

“We were not afraid of anyone. We were just happy to be there and we wanted to show the world that we were no pushovers hence the performance, so this is exactly what the current gems need to do, they should just work hard and anything will come into place.”

The Gems have started their world cup preparations following the recent Diamond Challenge held in Pretoria, South Africa.

They went on to finish fourth in a four-team tournament finishing with a single point in four games.

The tournament also saw a number of new players being given a chance to play in the national team, a decision the head coach, Ropafadzo Mutsauki said will be an advantage for them when they are going to start their camps next year.

“We will have a large pool of players to select from. This is a great start and I know everyone will be fighting for a position which will increase the level of competitions as we select the final players who will represent the nation come July.”

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