Women’s basketball continues to scale new heights after they overcame difficult hurdles to seal qualification for the 10th All-Africa Games to be staged in Maputo, Mozambique, from September 3-18.
The odds were heavily stacked against Zimbabwean teams getting any success at the Fiba Zone VI Games in South Africa after the teams almost failed to make the trip because of financial problems.
The Zimbabwe ladies’ team finished second behind Mozambique in a four-team group but the latter had already qualified for the All-Africa Games by virtue of being the hosts.
Mozambique had their focus on the Fiba Afrobasket tournament in Mali in July which they will use they will use to prepare for the All-Africa Games.
The women’s team assistant coach Simon Lawson said local teams were beginning to reduce the gap between them and regional powerhouses Mozambique as shown by the results during this tournament.
“Besides the qualification by the women’s team another positive aspect which came out of the games was the way our teams have been reducing the gap between us and Mozambique.
“Our women’s team did its homework against the South Africans and again showed a lot of improvement against the Mozambique side which is very encouraging considering that they are a regional powerhouse,” said Lawson.
Skipper Fadzai Mabasa who had an outstanding tournament and the rest of the women’s team returned to the country on Sunday.
Zimbabwe have qualified for the All-Africa Games on two previous occasions, in the last edition in Algeria in 2007 courtesy of a wild card entry and during the 1995 Sixth All-Africa Games when the men and women’s teams qualified by virtue of being the host nation.
Speaking on the qualification, Basketball Union of Zimbabwe president Addison Chiware said the win was a vote of confidence for local basketball.
“It’s a vote of confidence on the standard of our basketball as the teams impressed at the tournament against all odds; now we need to make sure that the teams have adequate preparations before the Games,” said Chiware.
Chiware also said the men’s team also has a good chance of sneaking into the tournament through the back door courtesy of a wild card after missing qualification to South Africa by a point.