The Sunday Mail
NETBALL national team players will be subjected to random drug tests as part of Zimbabwe’s preparations for next year’s World Cup in Liverpool, England.
Zimbabwe Netball Association president Leticia Chipandu explained the rationale behind the move.
“We are not saying the girls are drug users, please get me right,” she said.
“However, unlike the other tournaments, the World Cup is very particular on these issues, there is no room for mistakes.
“We believe random testing is the best way to ensure that we are in the clean. We are in consultation with Africa Netball, where I am the Vice President, and plans are underway to make sure that there will be constant doping tests to ensure that the girls are clean.”
The Gems will make their maiden appearance at the World Cup in July next year after securing second place at the recently held African Championships in Lusaka, Zambia.
And Chipandu wants the team to be in the best possible shape, revealing that the Gems will also have counselling and guidance sessions as part of their preparations for the global showcase.
“A lot is happening in our societies and sadly most of our children are exposed to all these things. We feel the girls need some counselling and guidance, especially considering the fact that they will be under pressure to make the final team for the World Cup as well as perform well at the competition,” she said.
The ZNA also wants to ensure that the team stays active.
“We are making frantic efforts to ensure that everything is in order, we want the team to have as much game time as possible.
“We have the diamond cup coming up in November as well as a number of other tournaments that we intend to take part in as we build up to the World Cup,” said Chipandu.
The ZNA boss added that although the ladies who secured the World Cup ticket are heroines, they are not guaranteed of making the trip to England.
“We noted areas that we feel need to be boosted hence we are going to be giving some new players a chance to prove themselves.
“In as much as we would like for all those who were at the African Championships to be the ones to play at the World Cup, this is not really possible because everyone has to prove that they deserve to wear the national team jersey,” she said.