ALEXANDRA Maseko, the United States- based Zimbabwe national women’s basketball star player, believes they will be underdogs when they make their debut at the Afrobasket Women’s Championship in Mozambique.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso
The talented 1,9m forward, who has been making waves in the US, said the underdog tag would give them an advantage and if given the ideal preparation and support they were capable of causing upsets.
Zimbabwe were handed a tough draw for the championships set for September in Maputo after being drawn in Group A with the hosts Mozambique, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Egypt and the winner of a play-off between Tunisia and Algeria.
Mali along with Kenya, Cape Verde and Cameroon, Angola and Nigeria, were drawn in Group B.
“Honestly, just the prospect of Zimbabwe participating is exciting,” said Maseko in an interview with NewsDay Sport from her base in the US.
“The group is challenging with heavyweights Senegal and regional champs Mozambique, but looking at the last performance of the women’s team at the All-Africa Games, we made history ourselves.
“In that sense, once again we enter Afrobasket as underdogs with nothing to lose and with the right preparation, motivation and support the potential to upset teams,” she said.
Maseko (23) recently graduated from Seton Hall University in the US with a political science degree and was one of the top players for the institution in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship.
The former Arundel School student started all 31 games at forward and averaged 5,5 points per game while ranking second on the team in rebounding with 5,5 boards per game.
Zimbabwe will be hoping that Maseko will be fit for the 12-team women’s continental championship which takes place in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, from September 20-29.
The national women’s side qualified for the tournament for the first time in February, their second consecutive qualification for a major championship after the All-Africa Games in 2011.