THE Zimbabwe team for the Afro-Basket and All-Africa Games qualifiers set for the ZITF on Saturday started their final camp in Bulawayo yesterday in preparation for the week-long tournament.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe technical and development president Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu yesterday said both the men and women’s teams had been training in Harare for the past two weeks and, were expected to be in Bulawayo late yesterday for camp at Hillside Teachers’ College.
“Both the senior men and women’s teams have been in Harare and they are travelling to Bulawayo today (yesterday) for their final camp. They have been training at the capital for the past two weeks. The coaches should be cutting down the teams and the final squads could be out by tomorrow (today). They will be camping at Hillside Teachers’ College,” Ndlovu said.
Zimbabwe battle it out in the tournament with favourites Angola, South Africa, the Seychelles and Botswana.
Angola men will bid to be tops to qualify for the All-Africa Games as they are already in the finals of the Afro-Basket Championships.
Two top teams in each category will be travelling to Tunisia and Cameroon for the Afro-Basket Championships later in the year and the All-Africa Games to be hosted by Congo-Brazzaville in September.
The tournament is being played at state-of-the-art basketball courts that hosted the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games in December last year.
Bulawayo and Zimbabwe at large will begin to see the fruition of the legacy left behind by the Region 5 Youths Games when they host the basketball tournament.
The Seychelles, who pulled out of the Region 5 Games due to financial constraints, have confirmed taking part in the Afro-Basket and All-Africa Games qualifiers.
Both Zimbabwe teams (men and women) have 15 players who have been training in Harare.
Laddie Munetsi will take charge of the women, assisted by Southern Eye sub-editor Sam Mutsvanga while Chewie Gilbert will be assisted by former national basketball and rugby team player Emmanuel Mukandi in the Zimbabwean men’s team.
Some of the players to look forward to in the tournament are William Muchuchuti, Nyasha Ngove and Noah Phenduka in the men’s team with Geraldine Chibonda, Pretty Tinarwo and Mellissa Majonga in the women’s squad.
Zambia has pulled out of the tournament.