While Zimbabwe's footballers fell short this year, the country's beach volleyball team has made a historic qualification for that sport's World Cup finals to be held in Cyprus.
At the African World Cup qualifiers held over the weekend in Congo, the Zimbabwe men and women’s teams finished second to book a place at the World Cup finals to be held in Cyprus from July 10 to 14.
The women’s team of Progress Gasa and Princess Moyo and the men’s team of Panashe Mhandu and Rufaro Choto will now join four other African countries for the global finals in Cyprus.
After sailing through to the finals at the African World Cup qualifiers, the Zimbabwean teams fell to the hosts Congo in straight sets but secured a place at the World Cup finals by winning a silver medal overall.
This is the first time that a Zimbabwean beach volleyball team has qualified for the World Cup finals.
Coach Viola Muchaona said the team will take this time to work on their weaknesses in preparation for the global finals about three months away.
Muchaona said qualifying for the World Cup was not easy, but the team achieved the goal by fully preparing for the matches.
In fact, beach volleyball is one of the few sporting disciplines in which Zimbabwe's team has managed to qualify for the World Cup. For most of the popular sports, such as football, the team failed to qualify for even the continental finals.
The success of the team at the African World Cup qualifiers may help popularize the sport, which does not have much of a following in Zimbabwe.
It may also help to boost sponsorship of minority sports ignored by most companies, which prefer to support already established sporting disciplines.