Gems head for SA
THE Zimbabwe women’s netball team is banking on vice-captain Rudo Karume once again switching on beast mode as they head to South Africa for the Diamond Challenge Cup.
At the annual five-day contest, slated for Ngoako Ramtlhodi Arena in Limpopo, the Gems will battle it out against Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, SA President’s XII and South Africa.
Coach Lloyd Makunde reckons Karume’s form will be key when the tournament comes to life on Tuesday.
After a stylish debut at the Pent Series this year, Karume again hit her stride at the African Championships in Zambia in August where she made a name for herself by marking out Australia-based Ugandan goal shooter Peace Proscovia.
“Karume is just of average netball height, but once she is on court she becomes a beast,” said Makunde.
“During the African Championships, she got away with most intercepts against Proscovia sparring us from a wide margin defeat. Hopefully she will once again come to the party in South Africa.”
Karume is a versatile player and this time Makunde has tasked her with leading the defence amid concerns over the fitness of regular goal defender Cynthia Gamuchirayi.
Gamuchirayi was on the sidelines for months due to an ankle injury.
“(Karume) has got an excellent leap,which is the best weapon for any strong team. They have been blending well with Gamuchirayi and wing defender Claris, and I am sure we have assembled the best possible defence,” he said.
Makunde has also shaken up the midfield.
“Playing a fast game means that our endurance levels should be high up there and that is why, for the first time, we roped in a fitness trainer for the girls.
“We do not want to exert too much pressure on our defence hence we came up with a tight and fast midfield that is capable of cutting the opponents’ supply lines,” said the Gems coach.
Zimbabwe Gems: Perpetua Siyachitema (captain), Rudo Karume (vice-captain), Cynthia Gamuchirai, Sharleen Makusha, Lizzy Kanyekwere, Ndaizivei Madzikangava,Claris Kwaramba, Lorraine Manjoro, Pauline Jani, Sharon Bwanali, Ursula Ndlovu, Paidamoyo Tinoza