Gems head for SA

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Veron­ica Gwaze

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

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