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Basketball team off to Rwanda

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Zimbabwe’s Under18 basketball squad that is set to make its debut at the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) Africa Under18 basketball championships was announced on Wednesday.

But the trip hung in the balance as there were protracted meetings to raise funds for the trip until late last night.

Team coach Laddie Munetsi named the 12 man squad and three non travelling reserves from the 18 man team that had gone into camp on last week.

The veteran junior basketball coach said he had selected the best in local junior basketball and expressed his confidence that they would make a good impression at the championships.

“We are going to play in a tournament where we have never taken part in before and it’s probably the first time most of the youngsters are travelling on an international assignment.

“We are therefore going to have to be very cautious in our approach.

Obviously we would have wanted to travel with the some of the players unfortunately could not travel with the team because they will be writing their examinations.

“However, we still have equally talented players and most local coaches have been assisting us to prepare ourselves to play against the physically superior West and North Africans and powerhouses Angola,” said Munetsi.

There were six survivors from the team that represented Zimbabwe during the Zone Six qualifiers after the other players pulled out of the squad for the upcoming national examinations.

The team is set to leave the country on Thursday.

The championships get underway tomorrow up to October 17 at the Amahoro Indoor Stadium in Kigali Rwanda.

The nine-day continental tournament will bring together 12 junior national teams from the continent and Zimbabwe will be making their debut appearance at the tournament.

Hosts Rwanda will be joined by defending champions Egypt, Algeria, Mozambique, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Angola, Zimbabwe, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville.

Nigeria is the most successful team at the tournament having won it a record five times in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 while Egypt are the defending champions of the tournament having won the last edition of tournament in 2008.

Zimbabwe team: Brendon Gonyora, Aaron Nare, William Chimichuti, Zelufe Melusi, Tawanda Chandaengerwa, Bret Makanjera, James Makanjera, James Makanje, Simba Chitsungwe, Warren Tegama, Tatenda Muzambi, Jordan David, Christopher Tsvarai. Non travelling reserves: Shadel Nobel, Nathan Shava, Billy Sadiki

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