Zimbabwe has qualified for next year’s Netball World Cup in South Africa after beating neighbours Zambia 59-41 on Saturday in a third-place play-off match at the Africa Netball World Cup Qualifiers in Pretoria.
The win against Zambia secured a second World Cup appearance for the Zimbabwe side, nicknamed the Gems, following their debut at the Liverpool edition in 2019.
Next year’s World Cup in Cape Town will be the first to be hosted by an African country.
Zimbabwe will be one of the four African teams that will compete in the tournament. Two nations qualified automatically, South Africa as hosts, and Uganda on superior rankings.
Malawi and Zimbabwe are the two qualifying teams for the qualifying tournament in Pretoria.
In earlier games in the qualifiers, Zimbabwe defeated Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania but lost to South Africa and Malawi to be left needing an outright win over Zambia to seal a place in Cape Town next July and August.
Zimbabwe’s assistant coach Tatenda Shinya thanked the fans for cheering the team on during the decisive match against Zambia.
Amongst the fans at the University of Pretoria were players from the Zimbabwe women’s cricket team who are in South Africa for a limited overs series against the hosts.
“We would like to thank our supporters including the national women’s cricket team for the support. We are proud that we have made it again to the World Cup. We are promising that we are not going there to participate but to deliver and come back victorious,” said Shinya.
Shinya said the team would head to Cape Town aiming to improve from the eighth-place finish they achieved two years ago.
“We are going back to the drawing board and continue to work hard. We want to achieve a better result than the previous eighth position. We are aiming for the top six now and we are definitely going to achieve ouAfriAfricar goal as team Zimbabwe.”