CHAOS is reigning supreme in Zimbabwe netball after the senior team – the Gems – were walked over in what was supposed to be their opening assignment at the ongoing African Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Gems were scheduled to face rivals Uganda on the first day of the tournament.
However, they were officially walked over after arriving late for the game and yesterday they fell 69-39 to hosts South Africa.
Zimbabwe, who in July hogged the limelight with a fairytale run at the World Cup in England, have slumped back to the pathetic state they were in before Liverpool, thanks largely to the poor planning of the Zimbabwe Netball Association (Zina) administration, which is under long-serving president, Leticia Chipandu.
The Gems were supposed to play the Ugandans at 8pm on Friday. However, they only flew out of Harare to Johannesburg at 11am on the same day and were yet to connect to Cape Town by 7.30pm.
Zina public relations official Maimba Mapuranga had claimed that they had successfully negotiated for a re-schedule of the game.
“The Zina president Mrs Chipandu has made the African Netball Association aware of this and consequently the Zimbabwe versus Uganda game has been re-scheduled to the last game for both teams in the tournament, “ said Mapuranga.
But, in a statement that was released on Friday, Netball South Africa said the game was still on.
After missing the game, Zimbabwe now risks dropping on the International Netball Federation rankings, where they are rated number 13.
The Gems debacle comes at a time when the Zina board is under investigation over allegations of incompetence and lack of transparency, among a host of other malpractices.
The Sport and Recreation are yet to complete their probe into the allegations levelled against Chipandu’s administration.
There are indications that a statement might be issued by the regulatory body on Wednesday.
Netball fans took to social media to express outrage over Zina’s conduct.
A netball enthusiast who chose to remain anonymous said, “These people were aware of the African Championships way back. Since returning from the World Cup, why have they been quiet? Financial challenges have always existed for sports in Zimbabwe, but we have always made a way. This association has failed us. Furthermore, why did they misinform the public, claiming that they had negotiated for a re-schedule of the game?”