Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe are set to be unveiled today as the principal sponsor of the senior netball national team which is going to the World Cup next month amid revelations that the Government has missed payment deadlines of accommodation in Liverpool, England.
Speaking at State House yesterday after they were hosted by the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe Netball Association president, Leticia Chipandu, appealed to the First Lady to intervene so that they fulfil their obligations which are now attracting fines at the International Netball Federation.
Chipandu also told the First Lady, who hosted the team during an interactive session, that they are set to unveil their main sponsor today.
But our Harare Bureau has since established that the sponsor is actually Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
“Your Excellency, ZINA is currently on a fundraising campaign with the assistance of an organising committee to mobilise enough resources to complement Government efforts.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has paid 40 percent towards the team’s accommodation and participation in the two international friendly matches against Uganda and South Africa. The Government has pledged to pay the balance for accommodation and air tickets.
“We have already missed deadlines for accommodation and tickets which have since accumulated penalties to date. Your intervention in this matter will help us fulfil our obligations to the International Netball Federation on time and will redeem the pride of Zimbabwe.
“We hereby appeal for more financial support to cover other key outstanding costs in accommodation, food, allowances for the team, medical insurances and air tickets,” Chipandu said.
The veteran administrator also appealed for foreign currency through the office of the First Lady.
“We are grateful to the Government, corporates and individuals for contributing towards the Gems participation at our maiden World Cup appearance. Whilst we have received donations in RTGS dollars, we appeal through your office to facilitate exchange into foreign currency through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” Chipandu told the First Lady.
Chipandu also said they were pooling all the resources so that the World Cup trip to Liverpool is life changing for the athletes.
She particularly singled out individuals such as Mavis Mataranyika, wife to Phillip Mataranyika, the owner of Nyaradzo Group, and TelOne managing director, Chipo Mtasa, for their special role in assisting the national team.
“We will be announcing our title sponsor for the Gems whom I cannot make public because the signing ceremony is only tomorrow (today).
“We wish to make this a life changing opportunity for the girls some who are single mothers, have children to feed and educate, some are students at university struggling to pay for their school fees.
“These women have been in and out of camp preparing to represent their country at the highest netball showcase in the world and inspire the next generation of netball players in Zimbabwe since March. As they leave for Liverpool, they surely deserve to receive adequate financial and morale support,” said Chipandu.
The veteran administrator said the technical team are likely to announce the final team of 12 players tomorrow.
However, she said from the squad of 20 players that has been in camp since the start of June, the association will carry all the players to Liverpool as they feel everyone has worked hard for the dream to become a reality and deserves a seat in the plane.
A delegation of 45 members, including technical delegates, who will attend workshops in England, supporters and the media are expected to travel for the global tournament.