AN old adage goes — Every dog has its day. Basketball in Zimbabwe has always been marred with controversies both on and off the field. True to its meaning, the adage has proved to come to pass for local basketball in recent months with three of the national teams qualifying for Afro-basket tournaments set for later this year.
By DON MAKANYANGA
Zimbabwe will have three of its teams participating in continental tournament later this year —Under 16 Boys (Mali dates to be confirmed), Under 16 Girls (Madagascar July 10-9) and the senior men’s national team who will take on Tunisia on August19-31.
In an interview with Standardsport, Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) president Addison Chiware revealed the recent success story of basketball in Zimbabwe as fruits of patience that were starting to pay dividends
“Our success can be attributed to various factors, that is the national team programme of Under 16 and Under 18 that started playing in Federation of International Basketball Association (Fiba) Africa competitions in 2008 and our return to Fiba Africa Club Championships and the various Fiba coaches programmes that we have run yearly since 2006,” said Chiware.
He reckoned that had it not been the sacrifices of passionate clubs, owners and players who have sacrificed a lot for the sport, while government has chipped in with different programmes also, the story would not have been worth telling.
“It is through the sacrifices made by club owners and basketball players to make sure that basketball continue to be played in the country. Government through the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) programmes as well as the Zone 6 Youth Games, All Africa Games have also contributed to our success,” Chiware said.
He said as part of BUZ’s initiative to see a continuous success of the national team at the forthcoming Afro-basket Championships, the local mother board is implementing different strategies to achieve their target of a top 10 finish.
“As part of achieving our targets at the Afro-basket Tournament, we have set camps that are helping in the preparations and we are also actively spying on our opponents.
“We have also called for reinforcements to strengthen our resolve to strategically and continuously improve to keep the momentum,” he said.
The mother board said it has asked the coaches to identify teams they would want to play in international friendlies as part of the preparations ahead of the tournament.