The national team head coach, Mary Protas said at the team’s camp in Kibaha that they will pick the final 16-netballers making up the Taifa Queens line up for the tournament. She said those picked are expected to travel to Zambia for a number of friendly matches ahead of the event expected to compete more than 12 teams from the continent.
Protas said the players are in a spirited mood and the seven Zanzibar netballers reported for the camp, thus the technical bench stands a better chance to pick the best.
Meanwhile, CHANETA Acting Secretary General, Rose Mkisi said teams lined up for the continental show piece are expected to jet in starting May 5, saying the association is making final arrangement to make the event successful. Mkisi said eight countries namely hosts Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Uganda have confirmed participation in the event.
“More countries are expected to confirm since the deadline is April 30, we hope to have at least 12 countries in the tournament,” said Mkisi. “We want Taifa Queens to have international trial matches before the events so that the technical bench can work out on the shortcomings before the throw off of the competition,” she said.
CHANETA has also called in the services of a renowned Malawian coach, Mary Waya to team up with Taifa Queens head coach, Mary Protas to ensure that the technical aspects are well attended. “It is going to be a tough tournament but we are prepared to perform well and capitalize on the home ground advantage,” she said.
However, she said, they are waiting for approval for the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports on the venue so that they start setting and marking as well as build special roof to allow the teams play comfortably regardless of the weather.
Should Taifa Queens perform well in the competition, they will qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games as well as improve in the world rankings since the event is recognized by the International Netball Federation (IFNA).