By Joyce Mukucha
As the Zimbabwe Gems’ team is set to travel today for the Africa Netball Cup Tournament which will kick-start tomorrow in Cape Town, National Foods has availed ZWL$250,000 to cater for the trip.
Due to financial constraints, the Gems were facing challenges in as much as participating at the tournament is concerned but National Foods, through their new product, Pearlenta Instant Porridge, rescued the team.
Handing over the support in Harare on the 16th of October 2019, National Foods Marketing Executive, Lawrence Katinyu said his company realised that the importance of continually supporting ZINA. The team did well at the World Cup where it was supported by National Foods. The Gems, in seeking sponsorship for the African Netball Championships – a build up to the World Cup, approached National Foods again.
“Essentially, they just needed assistance in terms of making sure that the trip succeeds. As National Foods we thought as a responsible corporate citizen that it’s something that we should take part in and continue extending support whenever we can. So for us, because of the nature of our products which are mainly used by ladies as good feed, we thought it’s something we can support,” he said.
He added that the organisation will continue to try and promote growth of sport among women to ensure that there is gender balance and empowerment of the girl child in the field of sporting.
The Gems are also set to receive food hampers from National Foods for the next 12 months.
The director of Sports, Arts and Recreation, Eugenia Chidhakwa hailed National Foods for facilitating the sponsorship which she said empowers the girl child’s dream. She mentioned that while willing, Government was not able to provide enough resources to support sporting activities.
“On behalf of the Ministry, I would like to say we are happy that we are gathered here today for yet another partnership in sport. Things of this nature never used to happen. Maybe you would find it in football and nowhere else. Thank you National Foods for partnering with ZNA. I think mealie meal being the basic staple food in Zimbabwe, it is very right that you have partnered with the girl child in this endeavour. I know the Gems are going to make it in Cape Town. We are very confident as Government that when girls go there they will represent us well,” she said.
Sponsorship extended to ZINA, Chidhakwa said, gave the netball players confidence in doing their activities as well as placing the nation of Zimbabwe on a better stage in as much as sport is concerned. It will show the world, she said, that when girls qualified in the top eight it was not by accident.
The newly elected Gems captain Felistus Kwanga said, “On behalf of the team, I would like to say thank you to National Foods for helping us to go and represent our nation at the African Championship. It wouldn’t be good for us to fail to attend the tournament due to financial constraints considering the performance that we showcased in July. Watch out for us we are good to go. Keep counting on us.”
Kwangwa takes over from Perpetua Siyachitema, who retired after the World Cup in July, in Liverpool.
ZINA secretary-general, Barbara Rice, applauded National Foods for the opportune interference for the team were not sure whether they were going to travel or not due to financial challenges.
Zimbabwe is set to take on Uganda tomorrow in Pool B then Kenya on Saturday and Tanzania on Sunday. Pool A is made up of South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho. Of the 13 players called up for the assignment, nine were at training on Tuesday under the guidance of Ropafadzo Mutsauki.
The final team is made up of Felistus Kwangwa (captain), Joice Takaidza, Ursula Ndlovu, Sharon Bwanali, Patricia Mauladi, Claris Kwaramba, Sharleen Makusha, Tatenda Dziva, Linda Nkorongo, Progress Moyo, Lorraine Manjoro, Tanaka Makusha, Queens Sigauke and Beverly Chipadza.