Ellina Mhlanga in Liverpool, England
AS the nation is celebrating the milestone of the Gems’ eighth-place finish at the Vitality Netball World Cup, which ended yesterday, the team that made the nation proud is not much impressed.
After an impressive show on their World Cup debut, the general feeling within the Gems camp is their efforts have not rewarded them as they would have hoped.
The players, set to get their financial rewards in both United States dollars and the local currency, have so far received US$1 500.
They are expected to get the other part of the money, in local currency, when they get back home.
Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Yeukai Simbanegavi last Thursday said the team was going to get its allowances in both United States dollars and local currency.
Part of the money came from Government and some of it from the fundraising activities done by the national association.
The deputy minister said this after meeting with the players and the ZINA officials, led by president Leticia Chipandu, to discuss issues to do with the players’ allowances and incentives.
Although it is not clear how much the national association and the players had agreed on for their allowances, it appears they had hoped for more from the netball mother body.
“I think we have done well and I think, in between there, our morale has gone down because of some issues. But I think we have done so well. Even though we have those issues we have proven that we can do it all the time, whether we have issues or not. But I think we have done it.
“I think the main issue for us, to tell the truth was money and I think it’s still the issue but we have managed to come this far to be here without that money,’’ said one of the players who chose not to be identified.
“It just lowers the morale for the players because sometimes we just think I am playing for nothing.
“We have been given some money but it’s not enough.
“I think, moving forward, before we take on the plane to go anywhere, we sign our contracts, we agree we are going to get this and this, those who want to get that, get on the plane, go and represent the country.
“Because, just to leave your country without anything, not knowing what you are getting, not knowing the contract, what’s in the contract, it’s not good, it’s not professional.’’
Away from the administrative issues, captain Perpetua Siyachitema was full of praise of her teammates after announcing their arrival on the world stage with an outstanding performance.
“The girls were amazing. I am so proud of our Zimbabwe Gems. It’s our first time here but the way we played, we played as a team. The girls were awesome.
‘‘We have learnt a lot, when coming for the World Cup we need a lot of endurance, we need to be physically fit, the girls that were here they were too fit for us.
“So we need endurance.
“With the height, when we get back home, the coaches really need to scout around.
“They really need to look for tall guys,” said Siyachitema.