The Sunday Mail
NATIONAL netball team coach Lloyd Makunde wants his players to have at least three international friendly matches before they head to England for the 2019 World Cup finals.
The world netball showcase will run from July 12-21 at the Echo Arena, Liverpool and will see 16 teams battling it out for honours.
Makunde notes that the Gems are lacking in terms of exposure to high level competition.
“We have experienced players who have a very good number of caps but at the Diamond Challenge when we played against South Africa, I realised we are not yet there.
“After adopting a new and fast paced way of playing we felt we could match the big teams but it is clear a lot still needs to be done.
“With only five months left before the World Cup, we need as many international friendly matches as we can so that our players are exposed to high level competition,” he said.
Makunde tried to blend some new players at the Diamond Cup in South Africa towards the end of last year but the results were disappointing.
Meanwhile, South African coach Norma Plummer warns that the team Zimbabwe brought for the Diamond Cup will be blown away at the World Cup if changes are not made.
“The World Cup is the climax of netball in terms of competition and it is not a platform where we can go with just a normal squad,” Plummer told The Sunday Mail last week.
“We need top notch squads and what Zimbabwe brought at the Diamond Challenge is indeed a good squad but for the next World Cup not this one.
“When we go there, we are Africans and so we need to support each other and share ideas.
My advice is that get the team that qualified for the World Cup back together and give them as much exposure as possible before the competition.”