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By Jess Anderson
BBC Sport
They were the team that gatecrashed the World Cup.
They impressed audiences with their flair, and using their charisma – memorably dancing their way around to the BBC’s television coverage they charmed them it off.
The Stone of zimbabwe went into their very first Netball World Cup ranked 13th – but at one stage it was not sure they would be able to compete in Liverpool. They lacked the financial backing they wanted to make the trip and trained with no proper facilities or equipment.
But contend they failed – finishing eighth, winning an unprecedented few matches.
Having established themselves on the world platform, what does the future hold for netball from Zimbabwe?
Some of Zimbabwe’s players had not played on a netball court, Prior to the World Cup started.
Goal shot Joice Takaidza, that currently lives in Australia, claims that the facilities within her homeland are”the worst to train “.
“At college we play sand and when you finish enjoying with the dust will be in your throat,” she tells BBC World Service’s Sportshour programme.
“From the Premier League we play concrete grounds, which are extremely difficult and very dangerous too since they hurt your knees”
Funding is the problem – as can be true in several Zimbabwean sports.
As government minister Kirsty Coventry, an Olympic swimming gold medallist in 2004 and 2008, clarifies:”two weeks before the championship, the Zimbabwe Netball Association hadn’t increased the money they had needed to.
“We provided a great deal of support for them to be present.”
Other financing appeals increased only #250 – a drop in the ocean for the likes of Australia and England – however, it produced a gap that was substantial .
Yet the issues didn’t finish there.
Head trainer Lloyd Makunde had to head into Liverpool and spend # 30 of his own money on crucial equipment such as balls and cones After the team arrived in the united kingdom.
“We faced several challenges,” states Makunde.
“We found teams such as Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica when they had been heating up, and we actually did not have the gear when we had been doing the practice.”
Victories over established netball nations such as Northern Ireland, Barbados and Sri Lanka in the World Cup showed the possibility for further achievement.
However, where will the support they need come from?
England goalkeeper Geva Mentor is one of those attempting to help.
Since seeing the disparity between groups at the 2015 World Cup at Sydney, Mentor has assembled kit and gear to send to based netball nations.
“The talent is there,” she says. “It’s just trying to tap into this and make sure they know what they have got and they’ve obtained the help around them for every one of those girls to be able to thrive.
“One of the most difficult pieces is really finding folks on the ground to distribute the kit and put it out to the rural areas in which individuals actually need it”
Coventry – the ministry for youth, game arts and recreation – admits the Zimbabwean government has to put”different constructions” set up in game, but says there are bigger priorities in the nation.
“We’re going through a challenging time and there are things inside the country, within the market, like medicines for individuals, like schooling for people… and game isn’t up in that area at right now.
“So for me to sit here and say we would really like to build netball courts and soccer fields and swimming… it’s totally unrealistic and I would be letting down thousands and hundreds of athletes down.”
Coventry wants to collaborate with public partnerships and sport institutions to drive an improvement in facilities.
“I feel the athletes are proving that we’ve got tremendous ability and that’s not going off,” she says.
“So it’s up to us to enter place the different structures that will allow for sports to become professional.”

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