BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO THE Zimbabwe senior netball team players are expected to troop into camp this week to prepare for their tour of Malawi scheduled to run from June 11 to 16 in Blantyre.
The tournament will see Namibia, Zimbabwe and the hosts, Malawi competing in a triangular tournament.
The Gems held their second and final trials on Sunday at Stodart Netball Complex in Mbare, with 15 players expected to be called for the Malawi tournament.
In an interview, Gems assistant coach Tatenda Shinya acknowledged strong competition among the players.
“The competition is very tough, we have many options in all positions and I’m sure that we are going to come up with the best team,” said Shinya.
“Basically, we want more players who can play more defence because that was the weak point on our team from the previous games. So, we want to work defensively and if we can find players who can play in those positions that will be good for us as the technical team.”
The tri-nation series in Malawi will also have a bearing in the world rankings. The Gems are ranked 13th while Malawi and Namibia are ranked 7th and 22nd respectively.
“Going to the Malawi tournament is part of our preparations for the World Cup qualifiers. Our main issue as the technical team is that we are aiming to be in the top 10. So, we are going to take these games seriously. They are also part of our selection criteria for the World Cup qualifiers. We are going there not only to participate, but to win,” he said.
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The team was also invited to the UK from July 17-24 for the friendly games and Shinya said this would help the team with more exposure before they compete in the World Cup qualifiers.
“The UK tournament comes at the right time as it will help us psychologically and we will get the exposure we need compared to what we can get locally. It will help the coaches and the players because it is going to benefit us in preparing teams like Malawi and Uganda.”Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo