ROBERT Mugabe (Jr) has made it into the Zimbabwe basketball team final 15-member squad that will represent the country at the 2015 Afro-basket championships set for Tunisia.
BY GRACE CHIRANGANDE
The event is scheduled for August 20 to 30.
Mugabe, who plies his trade in the United Arab Emirates where he is a student in Dubai, adds more foreign flavour to the team that also includes Italy-based Vitalis Chikoko as well as United States-based newcomer Wilson Juma.
The Zimbabwe team will leave for a nine-day training camp in Hamburg, Germany, at the end of this week before proceeding to Tunisia for Africa’s most prestigious basketball tournament that also serves as qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Zimbabwe national basketball team coach Ellery Pinkerton said he was satisfied by his final squad and he was looking forward to doing better in Tunisia.
“I selected my final team on Monday that will represent the country at the prestigious tournament, I’m confident that the team will do well and they have the pedigree to win the tournament,” Pinkerton told News Day Sport
In an earlier interview with this publication, Pinkerton made clear his admiration of the oldest First Family son.
“Robert Mugabe Jr is a talented youngster. Not many players of his age can do the things he does,” he said.
Top player Chikoko could not hide his joy at being part of the Zimbabwe squad for the Africa championships.
“For me this is a dream come true to be playing for my country. I think we have a very good bunch in this team and all we want is to do well in Tunisia. It’s extremely good playing at such a big tournament because there are a lot of scouts and who knows, one of my teammates can get a job.
“Personally I have made it known that I would want us to progress to the quarter-finals and anything that comes after that is a bonus,” he said.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) presented the full team at a Press conference at the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee boardroom yesterday.
Responding to questions from the media BUZ president Edison Chiware revealed that his association was “almost sorted” in terms of sponsorship for the trip to Germany and Tunisia.
“The last time I spoke to the media we were in a difficult position in terms of sponsorship, but now we are almost sorted out and right now it’s an issue of fringes, but as for the core of what we want to get to Tunisia and perform it’s sorted out,” he said.
“With the team going to Germany first I must say we are establishing a future in terms of co-operation between the Hamburg Basketball Association and BUZ with the hope that it can benefit our future national teams,” added Chiware.
Zimbabwe will be making their first appearance at the continent’s most prestigious basketball tournament and were drawn to play Algeria in their first game of the tournament on August 20.
Zimbabwe are in Group D together with Ivory Coast, Algeria and Cape Verde.
Moses Muyambo from the Mutare-based Mercenaries Basketball Club is also in the team and Taurai Chitsinde of Cameo club in Harare will be looking forward to his sixth appearance in national colours.
Tatenda Maturure who top-scored for Zimbabwe at the Afro-basket qualifier in February as the senior men’s team laboured to their first victory of the Afro-basketball and All-Africa Games qualifiers, is also in the final team.
Everisto Pasipamire, Tawanda Chitsinde, Taurai Chitsinde, Nyasha Ngove, Tinotenda Mugabe, Simbarashe Mungomezi, Vitalis Chikoko, Brian Hore, Agrippa Masvisvi, Moses Muyambo, Eric Banda, Duncan Shenje , Tatenda Maturure, Neville Chivhangane, Wilson Juma