Zimbabwe senior netball team skipper Perpetual Siyachitema believes the Gems will leave a mark at the Telkom Netball Tournament to be held in South Africa at the weekend.
The tournament, to be used as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup in Liverpool, England, in July, kicks off on Saturday.
Siyachitema accepted her team’s underdog tag, but warned other teams to underestimate them at their own peril.
“The tempo in the camp is very high and girls are very happy. The Zimbabwe Netball Association is very excited. Sometimes we get a bit worried over one or two things because this is the first time for most of the team members (to play at the tournament). We know that as we go there, we will be regarded as underdogs, but we want to shock everyone,” she said.
“We are training to reach top level. The preparations are going on well. Everyone is working hard and we are going to give South Africa good games. The Telkom tournament will help us.
We will see where our weaknesses are and we are going to work on those.”
Siyachitema said they needed to improve in all aspects.
Coach Lloyd Makunde said the Telkom tournament would be a good preparatory match for the team ahead of the World Cup.
“We will be the 12th team at the Telkom tournament and this one will be very different. We will see how the Gems are performing and how they are developing.”
Makunde noted that the tactics he had implemented in Uganda worked and was happy with the support the Gems were receiving from the society as well as government.
“We played Uganda and used different tactics. We did not have our first team, but the girls gave them difficult times,” he said.
“The kind of support from government and the community is very important to us. That moral support we are gaining is very important. When we get in the court to play or train, we don’t worry about the finance, food or anything else. We just go out there and do our job.”