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Male netball finally breaks barriers

Ropafadzo Mutsauki

FIVE years later, the ship finally takes off.

The league was launched in 2018 at Stodart Netball Complex with 11 teams having registered to take part.

Despite being able to break the gender barrier that for long existed within the netball fraternity, they failed to take off.

As a result, the teams found themselves largely playing social tournaments.

While other nations played internationally, some local players fell off the track.

Sadly, plenty of male netball players, over the years quit the sport while others were left to explore other options.

The Government announced a lock-down early in March 2020 which forced all sporting activities into halt indefinitely making things worse for the netball league.

And yet, finally, the boys get a chance to live their dreams. Zimbabwe Netball Association hosted a senior men netball national team selection tournament at Glen View 1 High School and HMP Netball Grounds at the weekend.

The team is expected to join the senior ladies Netball team as they resume preparations for this year’s edition of the 2023 African Netball Championships.

The 13th edition of the Africa Netball Cup is scheduled for Botswana between November 26 and December 6 at University of Botswana.

And for the first time, the regional contest will also see men’s teams from across the continent battling for silverware under the Africa Men’s Netball Cup. “This time the boys will be taking part at the Africa Cup and we are excited, it will be their first official international assignment,” said Zimbabwe Netball Association president Letticia Chipandu.

“We cannot promise much because at the moment we are looking for sponsorship but as ZINA we are committed to having the boys in camp soon, traveling with and seeing them compete.” From eight local teams that clashed at the weekend, 20 male netballers were selected to be on the national team.

The selection panel was made up of the Gems Coaches Ropafadzo Mutsauki, Tatenda Shinya and Tapiwa Chirenda.

Chirenda has however been elevated to be the male side Head Coach.

Premier Netball League top performing Coaches Simbarashe Mlambo (Platinum Queens) and Sibonginkosi Dube (Green Fuels) were also part of the selection panel.

Rainbow Netball Amateur League top achievers Pepertua Siyachitema (Glow Pe-troleum), Talent Museka (Mambas Queens) and Prison Side Correctional Queens Assistant Coach Faith Makoni were also drafted into the selection panel.

“We are happy that, for the first time, we have been able to work together with RANL for the good of netball and I would like to believe that this is the beginning of new things in our sport code,” said ZINA Technical Director John Banda.

“As you can see, we have Siyachitema, Dube and Makoni on the selection panel, we felt that this will be a great platform to gauge their performance as coaches.

“The bigger plan is to boost our Gems technical bench, and these are some of the women who will definitely pop up on the list.

“They are the future, so we felt that this was a perfect platform for them to show us what they have and we in turn assist them improve in certain areas.

“We do not want to just throw them into the deep end (Gems technical bench) when the time comes, so we needed them to acclimatise on this platform.”

Herald

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