HEAD coach for the athletics team to represent the country at the African Senior Championships, Lisimati Phakamile believes Zimbabwe stand a good chance of challenging for medals at this year’s meet in Nigeria. The championships will take place from August 1 to 5 in Asaba.
So far there are eight athletes that have been confirmed for the competition and the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are hoping to add two more.
Most of the athletes will compete in the track and field events and are scheduled to leave for the West African country this weekend. Phakamile said they are hopeful of a positive performance and have included some juniors – Dickson Kapandura and Leon Tafirenyika, who competed at the World Under-20 Championships recently, in Finland.
“Basically part of the team are the boys that were in Finland, so they are just resting and recovering for the next challenge.
‘’Dickson and Leon, they are going to join us, they will compete in one event each with the seniors, then make the relay team. We have both the 4x100m and 4x400m. “The seniors were in Mauritius recently for an invitational meet . . . so it’s just continuation from Finland and Mauritius. In Mauritius we had Ngoni Makusha, who ran his best time of 10:17seconds winning the 100m event.
“He had gone with Nyasha Mutsetse who competed in 800m event, he didn’t win but he ran a good time.
‘’So we are expecting him to keep improving and give us a good time in Nigeria. The athletes are in good shape, we have no injuries and we are expecting at least two medals,” said Phakamile.
Zimbabwe will have to push if they are to leave a mark at the continental meet taking into account that in their previous participation, in 2016 they failed to pick a single medal in South Africa.
Phakamile, who is also the director of coaching, talent identification and development said they are praying for better results this time around.
“Our last championships in Durban, in 2016 we had the likes of Gabriel Mvumvure and Ngoni Makusha getting to the semi-finals of their sprint events, that is 100m and 200m. Wellington Varevi got to the final of the 1500m. So that was basically our performance, we didn’t get a medal. We hope Nigeria will be different. We are actually going to meet before departure just to check the condition of the athletes and some logistics then we leave on the 29th of July,” said Phakamile.
Team: Nyasha Mutsetse (800m, 4x400m), Ngoni Makusha (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Dickson Kapandura (200m, 4x100m), Rodwell Ndlovu (200m, 400m, 4x400m), Leon Tafirenyika (400m, 4x400m) Tatenda Tsumba (100m, 200m ,4x100m), Faith Dube (200m,400m), Maryjoy Mudyiravanji (800m).