By Frank Kamuntu
Shocking secrets why Zimbabwe netball team the Gems missed their match with She Cranes which was scheduled for Friday have emerged.
It’s revealed that the chaotic tavel arangements by th sports organizers in Zimbabwe made it impossible for team to reach Cape Town, South Africa in time, which made them lose their first Africa Netball Cup match against Uganda.
After losing the game by dodging it, Zimbabwe’s hopes of progressing to the next round suffered a setback, because they later lost 69-39 to hosts South Africa at thee Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Gems’ campaign was thrown into jeorpady before it had started after arriving in Cape Town at 9:00Pm on Friday evening, an hour later after their rescheduled match against She Cranes.
Zimbabwe had failed to travel on Thursday due to chaotic planning because the Zimbabwe Netball Association failed to secure funding on time until the last-minute intervention by National Foods.
In the End, the Gems, who already faced an uphill task against South Africa before the chaos were under even more pressure ahead of Saturday’s encounter against South Africa, even though they put up a spirited fight.
Yesterday’s result meant South Africa’s Proteas made it three out of three in their Pool B matches after a thrilling start in which they beat Lesotho and fellow continental powerhouse Malawi on Firday respectively.
The Proteas started in high gear, taking the 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The home side went to Halftime break with a strong 39-18 lead over neighbours, which saw them dominating with intelligent play as they kept the pressure on.
Zimbabwe tried fighting back, but Proteas forwards were tough, ending the third quarter with a 49-30 lead, before ending the match with a 69-39 Victory.
Gems’ Stand-In Coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki said the failure to fulfill their opening match following their late arrival in Cape Town affected their chances of doing well in the tournament.
“It was obviously a huge disappointment for me and the players to miss the first match. The first same of a tournament is always very Important as it sets the tone for the rest of the competition; so it was devastating,” Mutsauki said.
He was however pleased with the commendable effort exhibited by his youthful new look side following the retirement of some senior players after the Netball World Cup in Liverpool this year.