THE Zimbabwe national basketball team will troop into camp next week in preparation for this year’s edition of the Afro basketball that will take place from August 19 to 30 in Tunis and Nabeul, Tunisia.
BY GRACE CHIRANGANDE
Zimbabwe Coach Ellery Pinkerton confirmed the camp to NewsDay sport yesterday.
“The team will troop into camp as from August 1 here in Harare. This will be part of our preparations for the Afro basketball games set for Tunisia.
“The team is also expected to use the invitation by the Hamburg Basketball Association to warm up for the upcoming event, but we haven’t finalised the trip yet” Pinkerton said.
Team Zimbabwe is supposed to tour Germany from July 31-Augustn 17 as part of an exchange program.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Joe Mujuru said they are working hard to make sure the trip is a success.
“We are still to finalise whether the team will be going to the pre-tournament in Hamburg. We wish they go as the trip will assist our players in terms of exposure” Mujuru said.
“Some of our international players like Vitalis Chikoko, who is based in Germany are now in the country and Robert Mugabe Junior is also part of our prospective team”.
“On the final camp we will be able to find the final 12 who will represent the country” Mujuru added.
Zimbabwe will look up to Chikoko while Julian Mavunga and Sternard Mapurisa who ply their trade in Italy and South Africa respectively are also expected to add the much-needed experience to the team.
Zimbabwe booked their place after competing against South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and powerhouse Angola in February at the qualifiers that were held in Bulawayo.
Tatenda Maturure,Tawanda Chitsinde ,Taurai Chitsinde, Nyasha Ngove, Benjamin Jani, Billy Melusi and Andrew Gonese were part of the team that qualified earlier this year.
The Afro Basket is held every two years and brings together the best African players who compete in the world’s leading basketball leagues.
To date, Angola has won the most titles, triumphing 11 times in 27 editions. Egypt and Senegal both have five titles to their credit.
Afro Basket 2015 serves as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympics, with the winning team booking its places for the Rio de Janeiro Games.
The same team will represent the country at the Africa Games to be held in Congo-Brazzaville from September 4-19.