Ellina Mhlanga in Liverpool, England
FOLLOWING their arrival in Liverpool last Friday for the Vitality Netball World Cup which is set to start on Friday, the Zimbabwe senior national team got down to some serious business with their full squad yesterday after the arrival of UK-based star Adelaide Muskwe on Saturday.
Muskwe, who is based in Leicester, England, was in Zimbabwe for the team’s final camp but left a couple of days before the team travelled to Liverpool.
The rest of the team had a light training session on Saturday at the training facility at the M&S Bank Arena, which is a five-minute walk away from Ibisi hotel where the team is staying.
And with the arrival of Muskwe, the Gems coach Lloyd Makunde said they are now concentrating on finalising their combinations in all departments.”
“We welcomed the other player Adelaide Muskwe so we now have a full squad and we were actually looking at combinations — midfield to attack and then defence to midfield, so we were inter-changing the players. So it was a good session,” said Makunde.
Muskwe, who got her first call up to the Zimbabwe national team ahead of the World Cup, said it has always been her dream to compete at this level and she is convinced they will give it a good fight as a team come this Friday when the games gets underway.
“It was exciting, I had never been with a national team, I am here in the UK with the Super League at Seven Stars. I got in and it was a great achievement as well, so all in one year to be with the Super League for first time and first time with the Zimbabwe national team, it’s crazy but a blessing.
“I have always dreamed and wanted to work hard towards that one day, for maybe next year or the next two years. But now I am not going to take it for granted being here right now.
“I think we can definitely put up a fight with all of the teams and hopefully we beat Sri Lanka, Northen Ireland. With the way we are working hard at training we are definitely focused.
“It could go anyway but we can definitely leave the group stages,” Muskwe said.
The 20-year-old goal-defender said while Zimbabwe are making their maiden appearance at the Netball World Cup, they would want to use the opportunity for better rankings for future purposes.
“It’s exciting, I don’t think we as players feel any pressure. I think we are just there to play the sport that we love, for a good performance so that next year we don’t need to qualify . . . And we just easily go in,” said Muskwe.
Zimbabwe are the only debutants at the 2019 Netball World Cup where they have been drawn against Australia, Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland in Group A.
They will become the 40th nation to participate in the Netball World Cup since 1963 and seventh African country to compete at the global showpiece after South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
The Gems will be one of the four African countries at this year’s tournament.
The other three countries are South Africa, Malawi and Uganda.