Zimbabwe Martial Arts Academy chairman Gilbert Makowah says they have to up their game for the forthcoming Kabaddi World Cup after they were drawn in Group G which includes regular participants, USA, in a draw held over the weekend in Malaysia.
The academy is set to send a 14-member contingent consisting of 12 players and two officials. They will be making their debut appearance at the event scheduled to run from April 6 to 15 in Malaysia.
Kabaddi is a contact team sport. Played between two teams of seven players, the objective of the game is for a single player on offence, referred to as a “raider”, to run into the opposing team’s half of a court, tag out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath.
Points are scored for each player tagged by the raider, while the opposing team earns a point for stopping the raider. Players are taken out of the game if they are tagged or tackled, but can be “revived” for each point scored by their team from a tag or tackle.
The sport is popular in the Indian subcontinent and other surrounding Asian countries.
And at this year’s Kabaddi World Cup, 32 countries are expected to take part in the men’s category and were drawn into eight groups of four. Zimbabwe will battle it out against the USA as well as Poland and Italy in Group G.
The women’s section will see 24 countries participating.
“We have to up our preparations especially (for) our opening match against USA, who have graced International Kabaddi leagues for many years unlike us who are going into the games for the first time.
Poland and Italy are also making their maiden appearances like us,” said Makowah.
Makowah said plans are underway to hold a three-week camp before their departure and the technical team will meet tomorrow to decide on the venue.
“We are supposed to go for a training camp before our departure for the World Cup in Malaysia for three weeks.
“And we are negotiating with a renowned coach from India, who has shown tremendous enthusiasm to take our players through their paces at a venue to be decided by our technical department when they meet on Tuesday,” Makowah said.
They had also been invited for the World Muaythai Championships but will no longer be part of the event as they chose to go for the Kabaddi event.
“Most of our Muaythai athletes double up as Kabaddi players as well, so it would have been impossible to attend the event in Pattaya, Thailand, and perform exceptionally well at the Kabaddi World Cup.
“So we decided to concentrate on the Kabaddi Cup, which is also cost effective as the organising committee for Kabaddi has availed godsend sponsorship of airfares, accommodation and local transportation for the duration of the World Cup.
“Muaythai event was going to be expensive for us to undertake,” said Makowah.
The academy was formed in 2017 and also involves other non-martial arts disciplines.
“Zimbabwe Martial Arts Academy was formed in 2017 because there were some martial arts disciplines that we were involved in but were not yet registered in Zimbabwe of which I was a member and I was leading.
“So as a result we just said let’s form Zimbabwe Martial Arts Academy whereby we would accommodate all these martial arts disciplines as well as other sport disciplines we thought were necessary.
“So it’s just one family, we are not just focusing on martial arts, maybe we will change the name in the future. We have other non-martial arts disciplines,” said Makowah.
Source : The Herald