By Imani Makongoro
The Citizen Correspondent
Dar es Salaam. The national netball team, Taifa Queens, head coach Mary Protas, has reinforced her squad with seven players ahead of this year’s Africa championship.

The Queens have been camping in Kibaha, Coast Region, since early this year for the tournament opening on May 8 at the National Stadium.Protas said yesterday that the players were picked from different clubs that competed in the justconcluded national second division league at the TCC Chang’ombe grounds.

She said the Tanzania Netball Association (Chaneta) wanted also to give chance to the young netballers that had not taken part in any international competition as a way of exposing them and preparing for future tournaments.

 "Our team is a blend of new and old guards. We want to expose the young players that fared impressively for their respective teams during the national second division league,” she said.

She named the new faces as Mpera Idd, Mikaeli Kessy, Penina Mayunga, Adela Christopher, Nyerabu Maximilian, Matalema Mhagama and Frola Paschal.

This brings to 15 the number of players making up the national squad for the continent’s biggest netball event.
Over ten countries have so far confirmed participation in the tournament. They include Zambia who won many a heart for their impressive show in the Mapinduzi Cup in Zanzibar about two months ago.

Taifa Queens, the 2011 All-Africa Games silver medallists, failed to replicate their form in Zanzibar, and went down 44-41 to Zambia in one of their matches in the four-nation revolutionary tournament.The other countries expected to compete in the Dar es Salaam tournament are Kenya, Mozambique, Botswana, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia and hosts Tanzania.

For her part, Chaneta acting secretary general Rose Mkisi said they reinforced the team to ensure they win the Africa championship.She, however, said Taifa Queens have a tough task of beating All-Africa Games gold medallists Uganda in the anxiously awaited tournament."We will work hard. We’ll not look at the past performance because our target is to make Tanzanians proud,” said Mkisi.