ZIMBABWE women’s wheelchair basketball coach Walter Ndlovu is confident his charges will do well in the World Cup qualifiers which commence in Johannesburg, South Africa, tomorrow.
This is the first time that the national women’s team will be competing outside the country and at that level of competition.
The Zimbabwean women will be up against the hosts South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon and Morocco in the competition in which they head into ranked in position last.
They will be making a maiden appearance.
“We are ready to compete in the championship qualifiers in South Africa as our preparation went well.
“We played a game against the Under-23 side which I used to assess the players and I must say that I am confident that the ladies will put up a good performance in the competition,” Ndlovu said.
A contingent of 12 players and five officials were set to leave the country for South Africa late yesterday afternoon.
“Our aim going into the games is to improve our ranking since we are currently in position last as we are yet to play a single game at that level.
“We are also using the tournament to allow the ladies to gain exposure and this will help put the women’s team in the limelight,” the veteran coach said.
Some of the players expected to shine in the competition include captain Deliwe Moyo of Qhubeka, Gladys Chiweta of Richwood Basketball Club in Harare, Thandiwe Ndlovu, Gladys Chimveka
and Zvishavane-based Morlene Muza
Players from Bulawayo side Qhubeka Basketball and Harare’s Richwood clubs’ players dominate the national team with five players coming from Bulawayo and four from the capital.
Ndlovu said although the sport had taken significant steps in growing and getting recognition, they still lacked
support from the members of the public.
“Most of our sponsorship came from the government and the corporate world.
“We have had individuals like Tshinga Dube and the outgoing Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart coming in to assist us. Members of the public have not actively participated in supporting or assisting us,” Ndlovu said.
The Zimbabwe senior men wheelchair basketball team is ranked fourth in Africa while the junior men’s team is the third best team on the continent.
Ratidzo Tomu, Irene Moyo, Deliwe Moyo, Margaret Shate, Silindeni Murengi (Qhubeka), Juliet Matamire (Shining Stars), Gladys Chimveka, Gladys Chimveka Medeline Choto, Magret Bandambajena, Thandiwe Ndlovu, Constance Ncube (Richwood), Morlen Muza (Zvishavane)