Zimusi reflects on debut netball World Cup appearance

Takadanaishe Assah Siyai Zimusi was able to shine and was kept in this position till the end of the competition, managing to impress in the new role.

FOR someone who took some years before her netball career came into fruition, a national team call up for the just ended Netball World Cup was a huge milestone for Takadanaishe Assah Siyai Zimusi.

Though the team eventually missed their top-four finish target and secured 13th position at this global meet it was a massive experience for the debutant.

The Gems had a bad start at the just ended campaign, losing all their pool matches and the first match in the ranking playoffs, forcing the technical team to make a complete team overhaul in order to find a working combination and indeed, it paid off.

In all this team reshuffling, the 24-year-old Zimusi was lucky enough to earn the wing defence spot, shifting from her usual goal defence position.

And surprisingly, she was able to shine and was kept in this position till the end of the competition, managing to impress in the new role.

She speaks about her netball World Cup experience.

"I made my debut against Australia in our first game in the second half but the fact that I was playing against some of the netball stars like Courtney Bruce and Stephanie Wood — for the first time — indeed was just exciting but although I was nervous.  It was a thrilling experience on its own though we lost the game at the end," said Zimusi.

"I was then part of the squad when we played our last three winning performances to secure our 13th position. I usually play on goal defence but I was shifted to the wing defence position. I was happy that I could play for the whole hour without a substitute.

“It was a really fulfilling moment and an event filled with a whole lot of experience. Honestly, at first I was scared because this was a shift from my usual spot but I had to step up in order to help the team to win and as play continued, I began to gather confidence and managed to keep up with the game," she added.

This was, however, the second national duty assignment for Zimusi after she took part in the Diamond Challenge tournament in South Africa last year where she was the captain Felistus Kwangwa’s substitute.

Whilst looking at all these major highlights, it's actually something to hold onto especially for a girl who spent her early childhood in the Midlands Province rural Mberengwa area and made efforts to make it on the international stage.

And just like most athletes, her journey had its own impediments.

"I started playing netball as early as Grade Six up to high school. In 2018 I relocated to Bulawayo and lived with my sister and I was linked up with a netball coach from Lupane. I went for trials and succeeded but in less than two weeks, I again relocated to Karoi and stayed with my brother. Luckily, I was linked to a Harare coach and when things failed to go as planned I then left for South Africa," recalled Zimusi.

"It was only in 2021 when I eventually Ianded at Harare City Queens and took my netball career serious. In 2022 I was called to the national team but did not manage to travel to Malawi for the COSANA tri-nation series. I was again called for the Diamond Challenge that took place in South Africa and that became my first national assignment."

Moving forward, Zimusi could not hide her wish to represent the country again and believes that one day she will be able to play even outside the country.

"Managing to play under pressure, playing against the world's best and learning other types of play were some major key takeaways from this World Cup tournament. I will continue working hard so that come 2027, I will be part of the squad again," she said.

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