Mat North basketball season starts

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Matabeleland North Basketball Association has a busy schedule ahead of them with three competitions they will be focusing on in just under two months.

The association’s chairman Pendrick Ndlovu told NewsDay Sport in Hwange at the weekend the province was preparing for the Inter-Provincial Basketball tournament pencilled for Mutare at the end of the month.

After that the league’s seven clubs will be taking part in an Easter Inter-club Tournament in Hwange before the coal mining town will host the 2012 National Paralympic Games from April 8-12. Ndlovu said his association was providing a wheelchair basketball team for the province.

“It is definitely going to be a busy basketball schedule for the association. We are meeting as an executive on Monday (yesterday) and hope to come up with a mini-tournament as we prepare for the inter-provincials so that the team will be ready for the tournament.

“We want the team to go into camp before travelling to Mutare because it is our first time to be taking part in the tournament,” Ndlovu said. His team will be using Hwange Colliery Company facilities for training.

The inter-club tournament will involve the seven clubs that are in the association’s local league which include Hwange Heats, Aswad Stars, Falls Panthers, Globe Trotters Academy, South Mining, Hwange Coal Gasification and Ghetto Magic. All the seven teams, except for Falls Panthers which hails from the resort town of Victoria Falls, come from Hwange and Ndlovu said they were making efforts to have other districts (Lupane, Umguza, Bubi, Nkayi, Tsholotsho and Binga) form clubs that would play in the league. Globe Trotters caters for the Under-18 as it basically focused on the Province’s Youth Games team.

“The major setback is financial sponsorship. We are trying to source sponsorship so we have a branded league in the province. The other challenge was we did not have qualified coaches but, last year, we had a coaching course facilitated by Basketball Union of Zimbabwe competitions manager Simon Lawson here in Hwange. We appeal to wellwishers to come aboard because without financial assistance, we are compromised,” Ndlovu said.

He paid tribute to the Colliery, ZPC Hwange and Vays Steel, whom he said have given support to basketball.