THE Zimbabwe Under-16 basketball team leaves this morning to take part in the Afro-Basket qualifiers in Gaborone, Botswana, which will run from May 25 to June 4.
BY THANDIWE MOYO
The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) Afro-Basket U-16 girls’ tournament is slated for July 16 to 24 in Madagascar, while the boys’ edition will take place in Mali in July.
“We have selected a good team for the Afro-Basketball qualifiers,” said Basketball Union of Zimbabwe secretary Joe Mujuru.
“The team will leave for Botswana on Sunday and we believe that we have a chance of qualifying for the finals which will be held in Madagascar and Mali in July. Angola, who are a powerhouse in African basketball, have already qualified and, therefore, our chances against the other teams are very good,” he said.
Zimbabwe will compete against the hosts, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa for the single slot.
The boys’ team is coached by veteran basketball player and coach Ernie Noble assisted by Valentine Muvindi while the girls’ coach is Tapuwa Mugunyana and Clement Kupfeketa.
“We have had so much support this time around since hosting the Afro-Basketball qualifiers early this year,” said Mujuru.
“There has been so much interest in the sport and parents, Nash (National Association of Secondary School Heads) and Chisz (Conference of Heads of Independent Schools of Zimbabwe) have been supportive in our preparations for the competition.”
Most of the players in the national team will be sitting for their “O” Level examinations next term and Mujuru said they had provided lessons for them during camp in collaboration with Nash.
Head of delegation Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu said: “We will host a farewell dinner for the players a day before they leave at Glen Lodge where they are camped.
The team has been training well in Bulawayo and we will be leaving on Sunday (this) morning.” Ndlovu also concurred with Mujuru that they had selected a strong team ahead of the qualifiers.