WHATEVER happens to The Gems’ campaign for the Netball World Cup title is now immaterial because of the undying spirit they exhibited during their thrilling Group A match against Northern Ireland on Sunday.

It’s a spirit that they have shown through out the tournament, that they play with pride for their country and that they do not give up. This is only their first time at the World Cup, but one wouldn’t know it.

The match was so captivating that even if our ladies are eliminated in the next round — which, of course, we are not hoping for — they have already done us enough proud by giving out their utmost best. Their performance was world-class and proved why they reached the World Cup tournament in the first place. From their Sunday performance, they are on track to go far at this tournament and we urge all our brothers and sisters domiciled in the United Kingdom to keep piling the resounding support they have been giving to our ladies.

One of the pundits described the game as the best of the entire World Cup by far. Such was the intensity of the game.

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Reporting on the match, one media house described the atmosphere at the match as “spine-tingling”, and we believe the venue of The Gems’ next match will be jam-packed and millions across the world will be glued to their television screens.

The Gems have won two out of four matches against some of the world’s best, which is the spirit we urge to possess all our national teams each time they travel for international games. The ladies’ performance is quite refreshing, especially following the atrocious showing by the men’s national soccer team, the Warriors, at the African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.

We recall that when The Gems left for Liverpool, England, they told us: “We have a lot to prove. We want to prove that we can actually do better than the males. We have qualified to the World Cup and no team in Zimbabwe has done this. We want to prove to Zimbabwe that we are the best and the women can go far. We just want to go and play our hearts out, no matter the challenges and even with no allowances. We want to make history, play and brand Zimbabwe.”

And, indeed, they are already making history. We urge them to remain calm, focused and determined to achieve their goal.

At this stage of the competition, it is easy for them to be too excited and when too excited, it is very possible for them to make poor judgmental mistakes. They just need to stay composed, and playing with the determination of champions.

We are behind them all the way.

Yes, the men’s team was a disgrace to the nation and their behaviour extortionate. They must repent.