Zimbabwe started their bid to qualify for their second successive Netball World Cup on a promising note after beating Botswana 49-41 in their opening match at the 2023 Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers in Pretoria on Monday.
The Gems led 13-8 in the first quarter before Botswana made it a two-point gap at halftime as they initially took time to settle in the match with Australia-based gaol shooter Joyce Takaedza struggling with her game after she joined the team in South Africa.
The introduction of Sharon Bwanali shifted the momentum in Zimbabwe’s favour as her accurate shooting meant Zimbabwe led 37-31 going into the fourth quarter and held on until the final buzzer as they secured a 49-41 victory.
Zimbabwe’s goal attack Tafadzwa Matura was named player of the match.
“It was challenging at first but today I have seen that team spirit works because we attacked, we played, and defended as a team. It wasn’t me only but we have won as a team and we are looking forward to maintaining the current form,” Matura said after the match.
Zimbabwe will be hoping to continue their winning mote when they take on Namibia on Tuesday.
The Namibians are coached by former Gems coach Lloyd Makunde, who led the country during their maiden World Cup dance in Liverpool.
The top two teams from the tournament will qualify for next year’s World Cup in Cape Town.
South Africa and Uganda have already qualified for next year’s Netball World cup in Cape Town.
Uganda has chosen not to take part in the qualifiers.