Hlungwani itching to make a mark at Netball WC

SPIRIT OF FRIENDSHIP . . . Zimbabwe’s netball team players pose for a picture with the Wales netball team after yesterday’s Netball World Cup warm-up match in Cape Town, South Africa

GEMS centre Beaula Hlungwani is itching to make a mark when she makes her bow in the Netball World Cup that begins tomorrow in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 16-team global jamboree is set to burst into life for the first time on African soil tomorrow.

Zimbabwe, who are making their second appearance at the showpiece, wrapped their preparations with a 55-54 loss to Wales in a warm-up match at the Cape Town Convention Centre yesterday.

They were expected to attend the candle lighting ceremony last night before they loosen up today in preparation for their bumper World Cup opening fixture against powerhouse Australia tomorrow.

The netball fiesta runs from tomorrow until August 6.

And Hlungwani believes yesterday’s narrow defeat helped the girls to see where they need to polish up.

“That was an eye-opener if you ask me. The match was very intense. We got to find our weaknesses and strengths as well.

“For me, playing at the Netball World Cup is the stuff that makes up dreams. I am very happy to be here preparing for the World Cup,” said Hlungwani.

“The aim is simple. Go onto the court, do everything and enjoy the game.

“But what is more important is to make sure that we win our games.

“I am very happy with the support that we continue to get from senior players who were there in the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, England.

“Their message has been the same. The encouragement and the motivation continue to push us the debutants.

“We need to throw everything on the court in defence of our national badge. That is what the World Cup is all about”.

Hlungwani said the aim is to do better than what the Gems did in 2019 when they finished eighth.

“That’s the goal. Things shouldn’t remain constant. The bar set at the 2019 World Cup was massive and we should perform even better.

“The general sentiment has been that we can break into the top four this time around. We can even do better than that. We have seen the belief and the spirit in our camp. Everything is pointing in the right direction. We are very happy and we hope to put the positive energy we have to good use.

“We believe that we have the right personnel who can do the job well for us”.

The agile Glow Petroleum star said the three practice matches that the Gems have had this week will help them gear for the gigantic task against Australia.

Zimbabwe lost 64-36 to England in the first practice match before they came good in a 67-34 victory over Barbados on Tuesday.

“Australia is a big team. But if we can be big as well, we need to compete against them.

“We haven’t come to Cape Town just to face off against these teams, we have come to compete.

“Whatever Australia is going to throw at us, we will do the same”.

The other teams that the Gems will face in Pool A are Fiji and Tonga.


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