ZBC|The Netball Gems saga continues with poor travel plans. The latest in The Gems saga is that the team will travel on Air Zimbabwe Friday departing Robert Mugabe International Airport at 11 am to Johannesburg where they will connect to Cape Town and arrive in the evening at about 9pm.
Their first game of the Africa cup against Uganda was scheduled for Friday morning at 0800 hours at the Bellville Velodrome in cape Town, South Africa.
“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,” According to a statement issued by Maimba Mapuranga, the Public Relations and Communications for the Zimbabwe Netball Team African Championships Campaign.
“We are very grateful to the African Netball Association for understanding our situation and to Uganda for agreeing to this rescheduling,” read the statement.
The saga is the latest in a series of bungling by the national netball association who have been accused of “mismanagement” by some affiliates dating back to the World Cup in Liverpool England.
Maimba also refuted media reports that Lloyd Makunde, had been fired as head coach of the Gems.
“The Zimbabwe Netball Association would like to place on record and refute stories making the rounds in some section of the Media that The Gems Coach was fired.. This is Not true. Coach Lloyd is still Head coach of the Gems but is not traveling for this Assignment because he will be attending an elite coaching Training being conducted by ZOC this weekend,” stated Mapuranga.
Efforts to get hold of Makunde were fruitless and messages to his phone were not answered.
“Coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki will lead the team and we have every belief that he will do us proud.. should you have any questions, please reach out to me and I will gladly respond best I can…
“Coach Mutsauki will lead the team and we have every belief that he will do us proud…” said Mapuranga.
The African championship tournament is set to kick off from the 18th until the 22nd of October and Africa’s best eight teams will be going head to head for the continents netball ultimate prize in Cape Town in a few days’ time. Zimbabwe it would appear is not ready or are far from it.
Zimbabwe netball gems made a huge impression at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool England in July, where they finished a credible eighth.
Zimbabwe Netball Association is under fire from all corners and stand accused of maladministration and incompetence after failing to secure sponsorship to run a national league, the Netball Super League where the majority of players that went to the world cup including those from the development side were drawn from.
A group calling itself concerned netball administrators from local clubs petitioned the SRC over “gross irregularities” in netball governance” violation of ZINA’s constitution as well as the failure of requirements of the SRC Act throwing the game into further abyss.
Among the allegations were that ZINA had clashed with players during the just ended Liverpool World Cup over allowances.
The alleged bonus row was resolved after the Youth, Sport, Arts & Recreation Ministry pledged to pay the players which cast a shadow on what was otherwise impressive debut appearance by Zimbabwe at the global showpiece.
Another allegation emanating from an audit report compiled by Robert Kambarami alleged ZINA paid themselves huge allowances at the expense of the players almost six times more than the players.
The governance issues, it is alleged came to light when ZINA were allegedly forced to engage an independent auditor in line with SRC demands for good corporate governance practices by national sport associations.
In the midst of all this bickering, the team and it’s final preparations for the African Championships failed to take off in time and team only went into camp this Wednesday, a few days before the African Cup championships.
Off-court bickering by administrators has stalled the game’s progress and deflated the nation’s expectations.
Zimbabwe were recently drawn in Group B together with rivals and defending champions Uganda who finished 7th in Liverpool, Kenya and Tanzania while Group A consists of South Africa who finished 4th in Liverpool, Zambia, Malawi who also finished 5th in Liverpool and Lesotho.
Malawi announced their preliminary squads in September 2019. Malawi revealed a list of 24 players in the squad and later cropped the list to 12 members. Uganda released a squad consisting of 22 players beginning of October 2019, just three weeks prior to the start of the tournament.