BY GERALD MUTSVAIRO
GEMS coach Lloyd Makunde has a lot on his mind these days.
While he has been busy planning for his trailblazing team’s participation at the African Netball Championships to be held in Cape Town later this month, the well-respected gaffer has also had to deal with some unfortunate circumstances.
Makunde’s earnings from the team’s participation at the Netball World Cup held in Liverpool, England, were deposited in the wrong bank account after his surname was incorrectly spelt, leading to a mix-up.
And for the last two months, he has been frantically trying to have the issue resolved without any luck.
“Despite all the hard work, dedication and love for the netball national team, I have not received my money from the bank. They are telling me that they wrongly spelt my name as Mukumbi and sent the money to a wrong account. I have waited and I don’t know what to do now because it’s been months. It’s been very frustrating and I just hope the issue will be resolved soon,” Makunde said.
Despite the frustrations, Makunde has remained focused on his goal of helping the Zimbabwe Gems establish themselves as a powerhouse on the continent following the impressive show in their debut appearance at the World Cup held in Liverpool, England.
The Gems will line up for their first major tournament since the global showpiece in the African Championships, which will be held from October 16 to 23 in Cape Town.
Zimbabwe will join seven other teams who include hosts South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Eswatini and Zambia.
Makunde expressed confidence that his charges would continue from where they left off in Liverpool, where they charmed the sporting world with their superb performances.
“We are very confident that we will spring positive results,” he said. We are going there as one of powerhouses and we will be targeted by many teams and this is a test that we are really looking forward to because it will strengthen us. “The girls are confident, that I’m sure of.”
Makunde said the African Championships would provide Zimbabwe with an opportunity to rebuild the squad as they look to fill the void left by seasoned players, including former captain Perpetua Siyachitema and goal-shooter Pauline Jani, who retired after the World Cup.
“Perpetua Siyachitema and Pauline Jani retired after the World Cup and it is now our job to look for equally good replacements that can suit the team best,” he said. “This is also a golden opportunity for the other players to come in and claim a stake for places in the squad.”
The Zimbabwe Gems finished eighth in their maiden Vitality Netball World Cup appearance, where their performance warmed the hearts of many supporters across the global stage.
The Gems posted three victories against Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and Barbados, despite shoddy preparations and threats of boycotts during the tournament over unpaid allowances and bonuses.