THE Zimbabwe Gems finally left for Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday on the day the Africa Netball Cup got underway with uncertainty surrounding their opening encounter.
The Gems game against Uganda was moved to 8pm yesterday but the team were only expected to arrive in Cape Town at about 9pm.
They failed to travel on Thursday due to chaotic planning that saw the Zimbabwe Netball Association failing to secure funding in time.
The team’s trip to South Africa only materialised after the intervention by National Foods, through their brand Pearlenta Instant Porridge, who availed a $250 000 sponsorship package.
Zimbabwe were drawn in Pool B alongside Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
However, Tanzania are no longer taking part in the tournament.
Pool A consist of hosts South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho.
Ropafadzo Mutsauki is in charge of this campaign as Lloyd Makunde is attending a sport ethics-coaches workshop being held by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee.
“We are going there to play good netball and we need results but the challenge we are facing is fatigue,” said Mutsauki.
“What’s important is teamwork, combination, this team has been together for some time.
”The team was at the World Cup and most of the players we have called up to beef upthe team, only two are new.”
Makunde dismissed reports he has been sacked as the head coach of the Gems.
“It’s not true, I am actually attending a workshop on behalf of the national team itself and the national association,” he said.
”I am still in the structures… I have never the done the course, so I am actually there now.
”I have come to realise that it’s worthwhile to attend and it’s not bad that the assistant coach goes with the team, it’s something which is good for me and the team as well.”Zina had released a statement on Thursday saying the game against Uganda had been rescheduled to be the last game for both teams in the tournament.
They said the national association’s president Leticia Chipandu notified the organisers of the delay regarding the team’s travelling arrangements.
“The Zimbabwe Netball Association president Mrs Chipandu has made the African Netball Association aware of this and consequently the Zimbabwe vs Uganda Game has been re-scheduled to the last game for both teams in the tournament.
”We are very grateful to the African Netball Association for understanding our situation and to Uganda for agreeing to this rescheduling,” read part of the statement.
According to an updated fixture released yesterday morning, Zimbabwe were set to play Uganda at 8pm.