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2019 Netball World Cup, Liverpool

Zimbabwe’s netball team, the Gems, are bracing for a tough fight against the Queens of Malawi, Thursday, at the Vitality World Cup, where a loss could derail their chances of advancing in the games, to make it to the finals.

In the eyes of many Zimbabwean fans, the Gem’s performance has exceeded expectations, and the team’s latest victory against Barbados, has raised hopes for their game against Malawi.

Though Malawi has always had an edge over Zimbabwe in previous meetings, netball enthusiast Shakeman Gosha is betting on the Gems to upset the Queens of Malawi, who also go by the nickname, the Flames.

“Malawi has always beaten us in most of the games, but history does not remain the season and I think this time, this is our chance,” said Gosha.

Though ranked ninth in the world, and considered a very strong team, avid Gems fans like Samson Muchinapo, still believe their team can beat Malawi, despite its impressive and intimidating record.

“The world rankings do not matter in world sport. With the way we are playing, I think we are far much better than the Flames,” Muchinapo said.

Muchinapo drew his confidence from the Gem’s previous victories against Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland and Barbados who are ranked well above Zimbabwe’s team.

Northern Ireland are ranked eighth, Barbados 11th while Zimbabwe are 13th.

Currently, Zimbabwe is placed fourth in the six team Group F with four points, the same as Malawi, and a win over the Flames could push them to six points, passing the Malawians.

Australia and New Zealand lead the table on eight points. The two teams also meet tomorrow.

Northern Ireland and Barbados will open competition with a game in the morning.

Zimbabwe clashed with Barbados on Tuesday in Liverpool, United Kingdom, in the Vitality Netball World Cup.

Zimbabwe put up a dazzling performance Tuesday, winning 66-41 against Barbados, to send the Caribbean team to the cleaners in the Vitality Netball World Cup.

2019 Vitality Netball Word Cup
2019 Vitality Netball Word Cup

The Gems now have to win against Malawi on Thursday to qualify for top 8 spot.

Coach Loyd Makunde told reporters after the game that he expected his charges to win.

“I was so confident that we were going to win (against Barbados) … I can say were are raising our game and we are going to be one of the big guns a few years to come … We now know that everyone is beatable and anything can happen in the World Cup.”

Zimbabwe were beaten 36-79 by New Zealand on Monday after falling to Australia in the same tournament. The Gems beat Sri Lanka 79-49.

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