Basketball Union of Zimbabwe president Addison Chiware has conceded the senior women team has a tough assignment against Mozambique in the AfroBasket qualifiers expected to start today in Maputo.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique will battle it out for a ticket to the AfroBasket Championships scheduled for later this year.
The team left for Mozambique on Tuesday and the matches have been slated for today and tomorrow after South Africa withdrew from the competition early this week.
Following their maiden appearance at the AfroBasket Championships in 2013, Zimbabwe would want to return to the continent’s flagship tournament later this year.
“Mozambique are a bigger basketball playing nation than us and they have got more experience than us. We are rebuilding, so to us this is our first reorganised competitive match. I am sure the coaches have had their plans.
“And (if) we come second best we may be fortunate because last week we were told by FIBA that as Zone Six our number two will be given a wild card.
“But we are not sure now that South Africa has withdrawn if they will still reward us because we were being rewarded for obviously promoting women’s basketball and for partaking in qualifiers consistently. So we still have got that chance that we will get the Afrobasket wildcard,” said Chiware.
Chiware said taking part at the African Championships presents several opportunities for development and growth.
“The importance (of qualifying) cannot be over emphasised…going to AfroBasket you can actually track your development, you can actually track your programme and also you end up attracting people who are more interested in basketball development to assist the country.
“You also end up getting athletes recognised for scholarships and so forth. So for us it’s very important and it will also lead us to obviously have these players play at a higher level.
“It also does wonders for our world ranking because for you to get world ranking points you have to be going to the AfroBasket,” Chiware said.
Zimbabwe will be banking their hopes on captain Alexandra Maseko, Dorcas Marondera and Sibongile Mkandla, who are some of the senior players in the team.
Yolanda Matayataya, Geraldine Chibonda, Stabile Ngandini, Sibongile Mkandla, Melissa Majonga, Emma Makoni, Francisca Sekete, Getrude Mapiye, Dorcas Marondera, Charity Mucucuti, Margaret Kanyimo, Alexandra Maseko (captain).