Shingi Matibiri, Sports Reporter
PRETORIA – Zimbabwe opened the Africa Netball World Cup Qualifiers with a 49-41 win over Botswana at the University of Pretoria’s Rembrandt Hall in South Africa on Monday afternoon.
Zimbabwe dominated the match from the start ending the first quarter leading 13-8. Botswana pushed hard in the second quarter and it was very closing with Zimbabwe edging Botswana 22-20.
The Gems turned on the heat in the third quarter ending on 37-31 and shut out Botswana from scoring a point in the final quarter to win the match.
Zimbabwe netball team coach Ropafadzo Mutsauki was elated with the win saying the victory gives his players confidence going into the other matches.
“This win is very important for us, because you need to win in your first match of a tournament inorder to settle the nerves of the players. Botswana are a strong side and they gave us a big fight,” Mutsauki said.
“We are now putting our focus on Tuesday’s match against Namibia with the same mentality and spirit to win. Namibia are a good team and they play fast paced game but we are preparing accordingly.”
Zimbabwe take on Namibia at midday on Tuesday. Namibia have in their technical team former Zimbabwe coach Lloyd Makunde who was recently appointed as assistant coach.
On Wednesday, the Gems play Tanzania in the afternoon before winding off the Pool A matches against hosts South Africa on mid-day on Thursday.
The two best teams from this tournament, will join South Africa and Uganda who have already qualified for the Netball World Cup in Cape Town next year.