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Nedbank: The difference between 2019, 2023 for Gems

SPORTS REPORTER

ZVISHAVANE- The Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZINA) president, Leticia Chipandu  has described their partnership with Nedbank as a huge step towards ensuring the Gems are well prepared for the World Cup and has already made a huge difference to this World Cup as compared to 2019.

Speaking to Midweek Watch, the Gems spokesperson, Maimba Mapuranga said the sponsorship has made a significant contribution towards the upkeep of the players during the world cup campaign.

 The netball national team is in camp ahead of their second successive appearance at the World Cup to be held in Cape Town, South Africa and are set to depart on Thursday ahead of their opener on July 28 against top ranked Australians.

Nedbank poured US$50 000 and also unveiled kits of a similar value. In so doing, the bank became the major

sponsor of the World Cup-bound team which was unlike the 2019 World Cup when the Gems had no sponsor and struggled for everything.

Chipandu said , “It is like watching the netball dream come true. We waited for this moment for a long time and we thank Nedbank for coming on board at such a crucial time.

“This is what the doctor exactly ordered. The timely sponsorship, will be able to cater for the most critical expenses — kits, travel and accommodation. The deal was a game changer. Of course, the girls have been ready, but now we are taking it a step further because we had nothing in our coffers and that had a huge negative impact on our preparations,” she said.

Zimbabwe are targeting a top-four finish at the World Cup.

ZINA’s budget for the World Cup campaign is estimated at US$234 000.

The World Cup is penciled for July 28 to August 6. The Gems are in a tough group that

includes 11-time World Cup champions Australia, Fiji and Tonga.

Unlike in the build-up to their maiden World Cup appearance in 2019 in Liverpool, England the Gems  were hamstrung by acute financial challenges, this time, the team have no such worries.

 The squad is led by captain Felisitus Kwangwa.

They are expected to play warm up matches against England and Wales in South Africa just before the World Cup.

When Nedbank came up with the sponsorship, Sharon Bwanali who was the stand-in captain saluted the commercial bank for taking the lead in giving the Gems an opportunity to focus on their preparations.

“It is such a re-energising development that we have dreamt of for years. I was part of the 2019 World Cup squad and I recall with painful memories our shambolic preparations.

“We had no resources; in fact, we simply trained out of passion but we were not even sure if we would be able to travel to Liverpool or not until the eleventh hour.

“We are excited with this partnership. It feels good that we have people who appreciate and are willing to seed into our team. We will not disappoint”, she said.

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