WITH only five days remaining to the Africa netball World Cup qualifiers, women’s netball national team coach Charles Zulu has named his final 12 member squad that swigs into action this weekend in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Zulu coached side is placed in Group B alongside heavy weights Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and eSwatini while Group A has hosts South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Zulu said his lasses are ready for the huge task that lies ahead in South Africa.
He described the competition in the team as stiff, adding that players making the final team were picked on merit and in accordance with the type of games they anticipate to play during the qualifiers.
“It’s a stiff competition we are going for and the country expects us to deliver results looking at the preparations we have had. The team is ready and our main target is to ensure that we qualify for the World Cup,” Zulu said.
Zulu has made a balanced selection of both the experienced and young players and will be hoping that those given a chance return victorious.
Zambia is ranked 17th in the world and fifth in Africa in the latest world netball rankings that were released on Monday.
“The new rankings released are a motivation to the team heading into these qualifiers and we are hoping that players will step out of their comfort zones and deliver the World Cup qualification. We have the team that can achieve the target all we need is dedication and dying a little for mother Zambia from the players,” he said.
South Africa maintained the top spot in Africa with Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe taking the second, third and fourth slots respectively.
Within the top six teams in the World, Jamaica moved up to third while England dropped to fourth after Jamaica made history at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games by making their first final and winning a silver medal.
This means that Australia ranked first, New Zealand (second), Jamaica and England automatically booked their slots at the World Cup while in Africa only South Africa and Uganda have qualified.
“The team looks sharp and ready. We picked players on merit and the girls responded well and gave a headache to pick the final team. Those who didn’t make it gave their all but we could only pick 1 and we considered the type of play we shall implement during the qualifiers,” said Zulu.
Team Zambia is set to depart for South Africa tomorrow ahead of the games that swing into action this weekend.
The full team comprises of defenders Besiya Katete, Memory Musonda, Esther Kunda and Nawa Beenzu while midcourt players are Gift Buga, Elizabeth Bwalya, Orient Mwanza and Diana Namutowe.