Gems Lose To England In World Cup Preps

THE Zimbabwe netball team concluded its 2023 Netball World Cup preparations with a narrow 55–54 loss to Wales in a final warm-up match yesterday ahead of the start of the global competition running from July 28 to August 6.

Popularly known as the Gems, the Zimbabwe netball team begins its second consecutive World Cup campaign with a date against 2019 competition runners-up and top-ranked Australia in Cape Town tomorrow morning.

Ranked 13th in the world at the moment, the Gems lost 64-36 to another high-ranked side England in a warm-up game in Stellenbosch on Sunday before thumping Barbados 67-34 on Tuesday.

After the win over Barbados, Gems coach Ropafadzo declared that the team was ready for the start of the tournament proper.

“Right now I am very happy with the team. It’s doing well. So far so good, with no injuries to worry about. I think the team is ready for the start of the games. But I hope the team will produce better results,” he said.

Zimbabwe are in Pool A alongside Australia, Fiji and Tonga.

Interestingly, the Gems were drawn in the same group with Australia back in 2019 and lost 73 – 37 in their second match of the tournament.

However, this time around they begin their campaign against Australia and will be hoping to upset the world number one side.

The Gems entertain Fiji on Saturday and conclude their group campaign against Tonga on July 30.

Tonga are currently ranked higher than Zimbabwe in seventh place on the world rankings, while Fiji are the lowest ranked side in the group in 19th place.



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