ZIMBABWE coaches for the Afro-Basketball and All-Africa Games qualifiers scheduled for Bulawayo next month are expected to release the provisional squad this week.
The tournament will be held on February 21 to 28 at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair with countries that include South Africa, Angola, Botswana and Zambia expected to take part.
Team Zimbabwe started preparations for the qualifiers last year as they were meant to be held in November, but were postponed to make way for the African Union Commission Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games.
The teams are under the guidance of Laddie Munetsi and will be assisted by Southern Eye sub-editor and Under-20 women’s coach Sam Mutsvanga and Chewie Gilbert with former national basketball and rugby team player Emmanuel Mukandi assisting for the men.
The final camp will be held in Bulawayo towards the end of January. So far the coaches have selected a team of 15 players for both the men and the women’s sides which will be trimmed before the games in February.
Some of the players that have been included in the provisional squad include Geraldine Chibonda, Pretty Tinarwo who play guard, point guard Mellissa Majonga and forward Jackie Phenduka, with forward William Muchuchuthi and Nyasha Ngove a point guard, making the team.
Zimbabwe is likely to face their biggest challenges Angola and South Africa while Zambia and Botswana could provide a bit of competition. Winners of the tournament will book a place in the All-Africa Games which will be held later this year in Congo, Brazzaville, on September 4 to 19.
The Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) has started fundraising for the qualifiers which are expected to bring the same excitement to the city as the Youth Games. Bulawayo received state-of-the-art equipment during the games last year which is expected to be used by BUZ.