ZIMBABWE coach Roger Baylis is confident his team will do well at the inaugural Africa Golf Confederation (AGC) President’s Cup in Zambia despite the absence of overseas-based players.
The new continental golf tournament, which is the brainchild of current AGC boss Joe Malanji, will be held at Nkana Golf Club in Kitwe from this Saturday to October 3.
Baylis, the veteran teaching professional at Chapman Golf Club, will mentor the four-member team of local-based amateurs, led by the in-form duo of Tonderai Masunga and Thembelani Vundla and the upcoming pair of Visitor Mapwanya and Robson Chinhoyi.
Speaking ahead of the team’s departure for Kitwe this morning, Baylis said his players were geared up for the challenge.
“I will be travelling with the team as national coach while the Zimbabwe Golf Association vice-president [Tavenganiswa] Mabikacheche will lead the delegation. We have a very solid team of talented locally-based players. They have been very active on the local amateur circuit and head to Zambia in very good form,” Baylis said.
“Obviously the team would have been a lot stronger if we had the overseas based players but despite their absence I still believe we have a strong squad,” he said.
Vundla heads to Zambia in very good form after winning the Hillside Masters at the weekend to add to the Elephant Hills Open title he won early this month.
Chinhoyi also won the Manicaland Amateur Championship title while Masunga lifted the Midlands Amateur title.
Zimbabwe, who are rated among the top golfing countries on the continent, will be one of the favourites in a competition featuring teams from Namibia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Tunisia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Botswana and the hosts.
Other teams from West Africa were expected but withdrew at the last minute over fears of the Ebola virus.
The tournament comes after Zimbabwe’s failure to field a team at the World Amateur Golf Team Championship, the Eisenhower Trophy due to an administrative gaffe and a victory in Zambia would go some way in restoring the country’s pride.
Meanwhile, the country’s leading amateur golfer Scot Vincent picked up his first silverware this season after helping Virginia Tech University to the team title at the VCU Shootout in the US on Tuesday.
The top amateur, who was the defending champion in the individual competition finished, tied for seventh place at 2-over, five shots off the winning score which was a positive sign after finishing outside of the top 35 in his first event of the season last week.