Champions Mbare Heat will represent Zimbabwe at the Zone VI Basketball Club Championships which have been penciled for Johannesburg, South Africa, from November 12-19.
Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and hosts South Africa, will be represented at the week-long tournament where the top three teams qualify for the African Club Championships from December 9 to 18 in Morocco.
Unlike last year in Mozambique when both the men’s and women’s tournaments were held concurrently, this year the women’s tournament has been penciled for Angola, a week after the men’s tournament from November 19-26.
The country’s top two women’s teams JBC and Varsity Leopards have already confirmed participation.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe competitions director Simon Lawson told NewsDay Sport Zimbabwe were hoping to send two men’s and two women’s teams to this year’s competition.
“Initially we were supposed to send four teams, two men and two women’s teams for both competitions.
“Unfortunately Mercenaries from Mutare have confirmed they will not be taking part after failing to raise funds for the travel and accommodation costs.
“In the women’s category, barring any last minute changes, both teams have confirmed they will be taking part in the tournament,” said Lawson.
Mbare Heat, JBC and Varsity Leopards earned the right to represent Zimbabwe and the regional tournament after emerging as the top teams at the National Club Basketball Championships in Gweru early this year.
The financially strong Mbare Heat, who beat Black Rhinos 56-32 over the weekend to stretch their perfect start to the season to five wins in five matches, will be confident of doing well, although they will face some stiff competition from the other top clubs from the region.
However, in recent years Angolan and Mozambican clubs have dominated both club and national team competitions not only in the region, but also in continental competitions due to the strength of their national leagues.