U21 team un­fazed by de­fend­ers drop out

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo Se­nior Sports Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Un­der-21 netball squad tech­ni­cal bench is not pan­ick­ing over the drop­ping out of two de­fend­ers from the team due to age ahead of the World Cup fi­nals set for Botswana next year, as they have iden­ti­fied able re­place­ments.

De­fend­ers Sithem­bile Chi­tiva and Felis­tas Kwangwa have been ruled out of the jam­boree as they will be over 21 years next year, de­spite play­ing a piv­otal role in the qual­i­fiers held in Botswana this year.

Zim­babwe Netball As­so­ci­a­tion (Zina) de­vel­op­men­tal coach Men­free Tanyanyiwa con­firmed the duo had been dropped, but the coaches had planned for it.

“The na­tional team coaches were aware of this and had iden­ti­fied some re­place­ments. To en­sure that th­ese re­place­ments were ready for the World Cup, they took three of the play­ers with them to Botswana for the qual­i­fiers, although they were not part of the of­fi­cial squad, they watched the games from the ter­races. This helped the girls get an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the level of com­pe­ti­tion,” said Tanyanyiwa.

He said the Zim­babwe Na­tional Youth Games had also pro­vided an ex­cel­lent plat­form for tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, with the coaches again iden­ti­fy­ing some new tal­ent from the prov­inces.

“Some will be drafted into Un­der-20 squad that will com­pete at the Re­gion Five tour­na­ment in An­gola in De­cem­ber.

“This will give th­ese girls a chance to com­pete at the high­est level as a team and im­prove co­or­di­na­tion. Most of th­ese play­ers are at­tached to teams, some of which are in the Super League, and I hope they will stay in shape and be con­tin­u­ously de­vel­oped,” said Tanyanyiwa.

Zim­babwe were drawn in Group B to­gether with 2013 los­ing fi­nal­ists Aus­tralia, Bar­ba­dos, Sin­ga­pore and South Africa.

The fi­nals will run from July 8-16, 2017, and 20 coun­tries will take part — @skhu­moyo2000.

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