The Sunday Mail
WITH the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup qualifiers on the cards, Young Gems siblings Mitchelle and Nicole Muzanenhamo are hoping the international assignment will give them an opportunity to grab regular places in the senior team.
The qualifiers are scheduled for Uganda in May.
Following the retirement of national team captain Perpetua Siyachitema and goal-shooter Pauline Jani, as well as the departure of goal attacker Mercy Mukwadi in the aftermath of the World Cup in England, gaps have emerged in the Gems dressing room.
The Muzanenhamo sisters, who have been featuring for the Young Gems, are primed to be among those that will now take over the mantle.
In fact, if their progression is anything to go by, they could be domestic netball’s next big siblings.
They become the second pair of sisters to don national team colours after veterans Yvonne and Ndaizivei Madzikangava.
Yvonne has since left netball while Ndaizivei still features for the national team and is on the books of two-time Rainbow Netball League Champions Correctional Queens.
Mitchelle, who is employed as Glow Petroleum’s fuel attendant, plays for the company’s club while Nicole turns out for Bulawayo side Gold Reef.
They both took after their mother and coach Connie Muzanenhamo.
During her days under the Mighty Queens, Connie inducted her daughters into the sport.
So far the siblings have not disappointed their mother as they have become versatile players who can play as shooters and mid-court players.
Usually the most vocal, Nicole said: “My sister and l are ever ready. We live, eat and talk netball. Our lives revolve around the game.
“We are geared for the qualifiers in Uganda and hopefully we will make it.
“We are working hard. The senior Gems inspire us and we want to make it to the World Youth Cup finals in Fiji.
“We do not want to go and just make up the numbers, we need to make an impact like the seniors did,” said Nicole, who is currently pursuing her Ordinary Level studies at Sikhulile High School, where her mother also coaches.
The combination of mother and daughters was instrumental in propelling the school to winning the Stella/Nash and Under-17 netball national competition for four consecutive years.
Sikhulile became the first school to achieve such a feat.
Interestingly, this is the same school that nurtured the likes of Felistus Kwangwa and Ursula Ndlovu. Mitchelle and Nicole have amassed more than a dozen accolades and national team caps. They are seeking to add more to their tally.
The siblings often provide spectacular performances as they battle it out for the same spot in the national youth side.
“My sister plays for Glow while I am with Gold Reef, but when we were playing together I enjoyed it very much.
“We play on the same position and so we provoke debate, with many arguing who is better than the other,” Nicole said.
At 18, Nicole has grown to be an integral player for Gold Reef. However, she remains her sister’s biggest fan.
“There are times when I feel that she is a pro in the game, compared to myself. This keeps me on my toes as l want to play to her standards,” she revealed.
Mitchelle feels her young sister has what it takes to get to the top.
“I believe that my sister has all the potential. lf she gives it her all, she can be Zimbabwe’s own Maria Folau.
“I am her biggest fan, I love her never-say-die spirit, her agility and the techniques that she has mastered.
“At home, everything is about netball. This gives us a strong bond and ample time to teach each other and learn more about the game,” Mitchelle said.