Zim Netball top official collapses after death threats

A top netball official collapsed on Monday amid social media fury over embarrassing World Cup preparations.

Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZINA) secretary general Barbra Rice was rushed to a Harare hospital “unconscious.”

Close colleagues insist the incident had nothing to do with the outrage nor netball wars.

Social media exploded early this week after heart throbbing images emerged of the netball team in dire circumstances ahead of their debut appearance at the World Cup set for London later this year.

There were suggestions that Rice had received death threats in connection with a rival league within the sport. However, ZINA president Letticia Chipandu dismissed those allegations as false.

No not at all, she never said that,” Chipandu said of her colleague.

She has been discharged from hospital. I went to see her at her home in Hatcliffe. She is now better.”

Zimbabwe’s sport minister Kirsty Coventry dismissed allegations that government had abandoned the netball national team

Since meeting the Zimbabwe team in November, they made strides on and off the court. I committed my help to their World Cup last year and this hasn’t changed,” Coventry said on her Twitter account.

Coventry added that government was committed to giving the side the best ahead of their World Cup debut.

“My ministry committed funds towards the netball World Cup months ago and we are waiting for the federation to send budgets etc, which we have continuously asked for. Netball is not the only sport that has these issues so we are working on better structures for greater support.

She added: “I’m excited by the buzz that has been created for our netball team. This means our ladies can get more support. I know there are fundraisers being set up both in the UK and in Zimbabwe. As I’ve always said, if we can come together then powerful things can happen.”

The netball association’s efforts to fundraise for the World Cup have been affected by the tainted reputation of the organisation in the corporate sector.

Early this year, the Zimbabwe Netball Association tried to play the political card in it’s bid to thwart the formation of the  Rainbow National Amateur League.

The Rainbow National Amateur League is sponsored by Aaron Chinhara who was at one time sponsor of the Zimbabwe Netball Association.

At that time, Zina through its secretary general Barbara Rice wrote to the commanders of the uniformed forces saying the uniformed teams Correctional Services Queens, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Queens, ZRP Queens and Black Mambas were playing in an MDC sponsored league.

Insiders say the move miffed players in the corporate sector who saw the politicisation of netball as something that would soil their images.