2023 Netball World Cup review: Zimbabwe

THOUGH Zimbabwe finished last in its initial Netball World Cup group, the Gems were able to come away with a 13th placed finish after defeating Barbados in the playoffs in the final match of the tournament. Finishing fourth overall from the African nations, the Gems showed spirit throughout the World Cup with some memorable highlights.


Group A: 4th (0-3, -69 goal difference)

lost to Australia by 56 goals (30-86)
lost to Fiji by 4 goals (48-52)
lost to Tonga by 9 goals (46-55)

Group E: 1st (2-1, +46 goal difference)

lost to Barbados by 17 goals (45-62)
defeated Sri Lanka by 35 goals (71-36)
defeated Singapore by 28 goals (68-40)

13th Placed Playoff:

defeated Barbados by 27 goals (75-48)


Zimbabwe’s convincing victory over Barbados in the 13th Placed Playoffs was the clear highlight, with the Gems securing their spot at the top of the Group E nations. After losing to Barbados in the group stage following a slow start, the Gems dominated the playoff match by winning all three quarters including a 45 goals to 20 second half to win, 75-48.

Nalani Makunde scored a whopping 57 goals from 59 attempts, while Nicole Muzanenamo (18 from 20, and 17 goal assists) chipped in well. The midcourt of Progress Moyo (27 goal assists, two intercepts and three gains) and Claris Kwaramba (19 goal assists) was also a strong combination.


Felisitus Kwangwa was the most decorated player coming into the tournament, and she again was a star, with her six-gain, three-intercept, six-deflection and three-goal assist performance in the playoffs a highlight to finish on. Overall she racked up 25 intercepts – 10 more than any other Gem – and had 29 deflections in an aggressive defensive effort.


Zimbabwe had number of crucial players, with Elizabeth Mushore doing well in the defensive goal circle alongside Kwangwa. She collected 20 defensive rebounds and had 36 deflections, team-highs in both regards, as well as 15 intercepts. Makunde was the clear dominant shooter in the team, putting up a whopping 218 goals, while Moyo provided the dynamic movement from midcourt to attack, feeding the shooters consistently.


Zimbabwe would have liked to have knocked off Barbados in the first match of the Group E stage, as well as arguably avoid that bottom four altogether. Coming up against both Fiji and Tonga, the Gems would have seen them as winnable matches, but ultimately went down by single digits. When the cards had been dealt, the Gems were favourites to secure 13th spot, and despite the loss to the Bajan Gems in the first match of Group E, bounced back to produce that convincing victory in the playoffs.

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