ZIMBABWE’S campaign at the African Netball Championship will be anchored on strong defence, coach Lloyd Makunde has revealed. The Gems will get their campaign underway with a date against Malawi in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday and Makunde says the key to success is in keeping it tight at the back.
“Defences win you titles,” said the gaffer ahead of a tournament that will also serve as a world cup qualifier. Vice-captain Felistas Kwangwa is expected to marshal a defensive unit that should also feature Claris Kwaramba on the wing and Rudo Karume at goal defense. Makunde believes a highly mobile midfield and the team’s ability to vary attacking tempo will give the Gems the edge.
“While we have focused much on variation and concentration, we also adopted a new formation that should give us an upper hand against any type of opponent,” he said. Makunde expressed satisfaction with the players at his disposal revealing that he had a tough time in deciding on the five players to drop ahead of the trip to Lusaka.
“As a coach I found myself between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
“It was a very difficult to come up with the final 12 because of the commitment, hard work and competitiveness of the players.
“The coming in of new faces pushed the established players into upping their game because my policy is that no one has a permanent jersey in the team.”
With top dogs Malawi and South Africa already guaranteed of World Cup berths Zimbabwe will have to tussle it out with Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Uganda and hosts Zambia for the two remaining ticket.
“It will not be easy but we are prepared for the challenge. The team has put in the hard work at training and the time has come for them to raise the country’s flag high,” said Makunde.
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