By Ellina Mhlanga
Zimbabwe are set to field a strong contingent of karatekas at the Africa Union Sports Council Region Five Karate championships starting on Friday in Gaborone, Botswana, with a number of countries within the region expected to take part.
The team is expected to leave for Gaborone today for the annual competition running until Saturday.
ZKU technical director (semi-contact) Gerald Muusha said they have a strong 23-member team made up of 17 male and seven female fighters. “I think basically we have been training hard, the athletes have been working hard within their provinces. We are promising that we will do our best.
“The whole team we are confident will do well because they have been doing well in their provinces,” said Muusha.
Some of the seniors and juniors medal hopefuls in the team that have been raising the country’s flag high over the years include Innocent Ntini, Adolf Chapwanyira, Dean Ramsey as well as Hazel Chirima and Nicole Musarira.
Zimbabwe’s challenge is likely to come from defending champions and this year’s hosts Botswana and South Africa.
Botswana have been on the rise in the recent past years and were the overall winners in 2016 and last year.
And they will be out to retain the title on their home soil this time around.
ZKU president, Paul Danisa, said their major challenge has been lack of funds which limit their numbers when it comes to regional competitions.
The ZKU president, however, remains optimistic ahead of the championships.