The Gems of Zimbabwe caught the world's attention, Friday, after a convincing 79-49 win over Sri Lanka in their opening Vitality 2019 World Cup game in Liverpool, England.
Sports analysts predict a strong performance throughout the games for the Gems, whose historic win - the country’s first win ever at the World Cup - left Zimbabwe with 30 points more than their adversaries who are ranked 20th in the world.
The Gems victory over Sri Lanka is historical in that the victory is history itself as they are making their maiden appearance at the global netball festival, which is featuring the best 16 teams from around the globe.
Zimbabwean netball fan and avid sports follower, Tatenda Makazhu, said he is on cloud nine after the Zimbabwean victory adding that he was now hopeful the team could bring home the coveted cup.
“I can’t describe how happy I am," said Makazhu. "The girls have made us proud and I am convinced they will go far in the competition,” he said.
Sports critic, Tinashe Museti, added his weight to the celebrations saying the Zimbabwe government should reward the Gems handsomely for putting Zimbabwe on the international sports map, particularly after the dismal performance by the country's soccer team, The Warrirors, at the Africa Cup of Nations games that are still underway in Egypt.
With three teams qualifying for the next stage, sports analysts believe that win over the Asians, could be vital in determining the Gems' final position with regards to qualification, even if they lose their remaining two games against, Australia Saturday, and Northern Ireland on Sunday.
The top three teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the second round from where the qualifying teams will then be divided into two groups of six teams each.
The Zimbabwean victory could also spur the other African teams at the competition, South Africa, Malawi, and Uganda, to also increase the popularity of netball, on the continent.