TEAM Zimbabwe has set itself a 40-medal target at the 2014 Africa Union Sports Council Region V Under-20 Youth Games to be staged in Bulawayo next month.
The games are scheduled for December 4 to15 and the Team Zimbabwe squad to represent the country in various disciplines was announced yesterday in Harare.
The team is expected to go into final camp tomorrow while athletes seating for their end of year high school exams have been exempted to join others by November 28 together with those based overseas.
Swimming, athletics and tennis have competitors coming from the USA and Australia.
A total of 223 athletes will compete for Zimbabwe, the highest contingent the country has ever fielded at the Games.
Team Zimbabwe on paper look strong in some disciplines that boast of contestants who have competed on the regional or international scene before.
Headline names in athletics include Nyasha Mutsetse, Michael Songore, Pride Lusinga, Enlitha Ncube, Maryjoy Mudyiravanji and Yvonne Vanhuvaone who have all participated in international meets.
The women’s football team appears to be the strongest with players who have already earned senior caps with the Mighty Warriors.
Mavis Chirandu, Mercy Marowa, Greater Bhande, Gracious Mageza and Ethel Chinyerere have featured in crucial Mighty Warriors matches.
The men’s team will field the Under-17s that include highly-rated Issa Sadiki and Bantu Rovers’ Bukhosi Sibanda.
US-based tennis player Ronzai Saurombe is also part of the team together with Valeria Bhunu.
Team Zimbabwe chef de mission Sebastian Garikai admitted setting a target of at least 40 medals is a bar too high, but possible judging from the effort invested in preparations.
“We have given ourselves a target of at least 40 medals,” said Garikai.
“One will only appreciate that the best we have managed are 10 medals before so this is a very big asking. We will thrive to get 40 and if we do not reach that target, at least we would have tried. We hope other teams are not prepared as we are.
“We have never sent a full complement of athletes. This is the largest ever contingent for us. We are in our own backyard so we will give it everything we have.”
He said being hosts will push them in their quest to finish tops on the medals chart.
“Obviously as hosts you want to win every competition. It is because the whole country would be behind us and if we have the support of everyone, nothing would stop us,” he said.
Athletics is commonly a medal cow for multi-discipline events like these.
Team Zimbabwe athletics manager Precious Takarino is however not feeling hard-pressed to provide the most accolades.
“I cannot say we feel challenged to produce the highest number of medals. We are expecting to get most of our medals from middle and distance running. Of course we do trust in our athletes and coaches and the work they have done so far. Preparations are now at an advanced stage,” said Takarino.
Tendai Zimuto had a good outing at this year’s Westgate half marathon which served as preparations for these Games while Caroline Mhandu won the junior division of the Tanganda marathon.
Team Zimbabwe Athletes
Athletics (Men): A Musazwi, K Mutsetse, T Fusire, Songore, M Tarakinyu, E Nyakuwengama, M Gorejena, N Katuka, B Tshuma, M Dhlodhlo, A Khumalo, B Mada, T Nyathi, R Musarurwa, S Hlanguyo, T Tembo, A Lusinga, N Ndebele, R Sithole, R King, T Zimuto, C Matorwa, A Ncube, G Mwanza, G Shava
Athletics (Women): B Chikanga, C Shavi, E Ncube, C Mahachi, C Dzinotyiwei, T Geza, C Mhandu, M Mudyiravanji, R Mzinde, Y Vanhuvaone, D Malinga, N Ndlovu, R Mafuta, N Tapfumaneyi, M Mtinsi, A Bungu, C Chamboko, N Kapfudzuruwa, S Mtisi, P Guruve, A Tembo, V Majoni, T Chetsenga, H Mandibaya, W Nkomo
Athletics for the visually impaired (Men): C Hove, M Nleya, T Mutukura, A Chimanikire, B Ncube, O Gwenzi, S Gumede, F Mhone, B Tagwireyi, l Chifombo, S Ncube, O Gwenzi, T Bhasera, L Chitimbe, L Chatanga
Athletics for the visually impaired (Women): B Chimanikire, I Mabvumba, L Shoko, B Gudekude, M Matandadzi, S Moyo, C Mungate, E Nechibvuri, D Nyamufukudza, L Sithole, F Madziva, n Makwara, A Chiwanza, N Kwazinkosi
Basketball (Men): C Wilson, H Kurangwa, T Nyaude, T Makuru, T Chikore, K Nyamuchengwa, N Penduka, T Chirara, G Chimboera, G Gundani, V Bingura, B Mhuriyengwa
Basketball (Women): M Majonga, L Mukamba, R Nyauchi, R Ngandini, M Ngandini, T Sekete, M Chiromo, I Kawodza, b Muleya, I Sibanda, N Katseste, C Mambo
Boxing (Men): N Ncube, N Mutsvairo, R Murembo, P Chingono, L Moyo, D Ncube, E Kutsaruware, S Mhiruyengwe, T Nkomozabo, A Ncube, S Masiyambumbi
Football (Men): K Shangiwa, T Ndlovu, S Ngwerume, B Ncube, M Ndlovu, J Munzira, J Malunga, D Kupakwashe, F Rukanda, T Tavengwa, D Khumalo, m Kwinjo, H Mataruse, I Sadiki, T Chivandire, I Munsaka, B Sibanda, T Kudyaridzire, T Mthunzi, L Lunga
Football (Women): M Chirandu, L Mapanhurem S Ndhlovu, R Mharadzim M Banda, P MupETI, A Thsuma, V Nonhlanhla, C Khumalo, H Gumbu, F Muchekenya, M Marowa, G Bhande, G Mugeza, R Mutseneki, L Mpaya, S Nyakuzviranga, E Chinyerere, P Mahada, C Muhara
Judo (Men): T Pavarim G Sapapate, T Tsvandem B Mushayim T Chikomon N Mukuna, A Ganje, R Mubayiwa
Judo (Women): N Dingani, M Mukuwe, R Ranganayi, R Mutsvayi, P Chikaka, C Dube, S Mangoni
Netball: N Ncube, S Chitiva,F Kwangwa, T Bwanali, S Ncube, F Mukwadi, C Chiwenga, N Kakono,, T Mbimba, N Makhalima, N Chigora, P Mauladi
Swimming (Men): L Davism L Onorati, L Ngwenya, M Netsha, J Tink,R Steyl, K Steiner, C Weltzar, A White, J Lawson, S Prinem A Joseph, D Horsley, C Idensohn, I Burnett, D Jones, L Burnett, L Chiang, C Cyprianos
Swimming (Women): S Hencil, K Graham, S Hoskins, P Johnston, L Brown, B Dingiswayo, S Lee, K Doorman, K Marley, S Mutseriwa, M Mutangadura, M Maruta, W Van den Bergh, K Simon, J Stephens, G Peecockee
Tennis (Men): R Saurombe, T Mariga
Tennis (Women): V Bhunu, R Chirewa