THE Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) is seeking funds to bring international players to the country as they prepare for the Afro-Basket and All-Africa Games qualifiers to be held in Bulawayo from February 21 to 28.
Vitalis Chikoko and Julian Mavunga ply their trade in Germany and France respectively while Allan Zimbango plays in the South African Basketball League.
The women’s team players who are outside the country are the South Africa-based Yowana Nyangu who turns out for Witwatersrand University and Dorcas Marondera a Vaal University of Technology player.
BUZ secretary-general Joe Mujuru confirmed the development to Southern Eye Sport while giving an update on preparations for the competition.
“We are trying to engage stakeholders so that we get funding to bring players outside the country to represent us in the competition,” he said.
“Preparations for the competition are at an advanced stage. The men’s team has 18 players while the women’s team has 15 players and they will be trimmed to 12 each in early February.”
Mujuru said the teams were training in Harare ahead of the competition.
“The teams are training at Richwood Park in Harare for now,” he said.
“It’s cheaper that they are there now because most of the players are in Harare. But a week or two before the competition they will come to Bulawayo so that they acclimatise.
“We are still engaging the ZITF because we want the games to be held there. We are engaging the Region 5 Youth Games local organising committee so that they give us access to the basketball equipment.
Laddie Munetsi will be in charge of the women’s team assisted by Southern Eye sub-editor and Under-20 women’s coach Sam Mutsvanga.
Chewie Gilbert will coach the men’s team with former national basketball and rugby team player Emmanuel Mukandi assisting.
Zimbabwe will battle against Zambia, South Africa, Angola and Botswana while Angola are only competing for a slot at the All-Africa Games as they have already qualified for the Afro-Basket competition.
The women’s teams set to compete are the hosts Zambia, South Africa, Angola, Botswana and the Seychelles.
More focus will be on basketball powerhouse Angola. The Afro-Basket final will be held in Tunisia while Equatorial Guinea will host the All-Africa Games basketball team finals later in the year.
Tawanda Chitsinde, Nyasha Ngove, Benjamin Jani, Tatenda Maturure, Billy Melusi, Taurai Chitsinde, Andrew Gonese, William Muchuchuti, Vitalis Chikoko, Sternard Mapurisa, Julian Mavunga, Neville Chivanganye, Allan Zimbangu, Innocent Sithole, Everisto Pasipanodya, Simbarashe Mungombezi, Simba Mukahuru, Tatenda Tswatswa
Pretty Tinarwo, Geraldine Chibonda, Sharon Chamuwarura, Mellissa Majonga, Yowana Nyangu, Dorcas Marondera, Margaret Magwaro, Rachel Makoni, Charity Chigumba, Charity Muchuchuti, Rumbidzai Dhliwayo, Margaret Kanyimo, Ferina Chareka, Getrude Mapiye, Patience Chinhoyi