STAR-STUDDED Mutare netball outfit, Santa Queens need to navigate their way past the Super League promotion playoffs after ending the fiercely competitive Manicaland Netball League 2023 season perched on top of the log.
The ambitious outfit is owned and bankrolled by local clearing and customs entity, FreightZone Logistics.
There is no direct promotion into the National Super League and teams that finished on position one to four have automatic entries to participate in the play-offs to be held in Harare at the end of January or early February.
Winning teams will be promoted.
Santa Queens director, Jeansally Chiwambutsa is confident of easing past the play-offs and attain Premiership status, come 2024.
“We are very confident that as Santa Queens we will be promoted. We are excited for finishing first in the Manicaland Netball League,” she said.
Chiwambutsa attributed their success to hard work and dedication.
“The journey to finishing on top of the Manicaland Netball League was not a stroll in the park on all fronts, from travelling to fulfilling fixtures, making sure that the coaches, players and others in the administration earn a living out of their participation, training facilities and routines.
“Some teams had their matches forfeited due to lack of sponsorship, but we soldiered on,” she said.
The enthusiastic netball administrator urged the local business community to consider partnering the game of netball for social good.
“We appeal to the business community to come on board and sponsor the game by adopting other teams as there is too much interest from women including those in rural areas.
“Sport will really take the girl child and women from drug abuse, docility, stress and stress related diseases, poverty and they can earn a living from it,” she said.
Chiwambutsa, however, reckons the challenges of life in the Super League.
“The Super League is a very competitive league in Zimbabwe and has very strong teams, with many of them being sponsored by big companies. Some of them have sister teams in the men’s Premier Soccer League, so there is great competition at that level.
“We are confident that our current crop of players and coaches can match those guys toe to toe. We also want to beef up our squad as this is a sport for everyone. Our target is to have players in the Zimbabwe national team, The Gems. We are Manicaland where gems (diamonds) are produced, so if it is not an irony, we should realise that in reality,” said Chiwambutsa.