By Ellina Mhlanga
THE Zimbabwe senior women basketball team is now expected to take on Mozambique and South Africa in the AfroBasket qualifiers which have been moved to March 7 to 12 in Maputo, Mozambique.
The qualifiers were initially supposed to run from March 3 to 12 with 10 countries participating.
But they will now be held over six days after only three countries — hosts Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe — confirmed their participation.
The top team automatically qualifies for the finals, joining Angola, who have already booked their place at the AfroBasket Championships in Mali later this year.
National teams’ general manager, Charmaine Chamboko, confirmed the development and said they will announce the new travelling date for the team in due course as well as the team’s final camp.
The senior women side was scheduled to regroup last weekend for their final preparations in Bulawayo with departure set for today, but had to adjust their programme.
Chamboko indicated that financial constraints have been their major setback.
The team met twice over the weekend as part of their build-up to the competition.
“Departure is to be confirmed as we only received this information. Yes the team will be going into camp this week.”
Team coach, Erinos Katsaruware, is currently working with players in Harare while those in Bulawayo are under the guidance of assistant coach Mxolisi Ndlovu.
Katsaruware said while they would have wanted to bring all the players together to work out combinations among other things they have to do with what they have.
“I am working with the Harare players while the coach in Bulawayo is working with the players there, we are using a similar programme.
“The postponement of the tournament is an advantage to us, it gives us extra days to train.”
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe president, Addison Chiware, said Zimbabwe stand a good chance of making it to the finals as a wild card for the second best team from the qualifiers if they fail to get the remaining slot.
Final Team: Yolanda Matayataya, Geraldine Chibonda (second vice captain), Stabile Ngandini, Sibongile Mkandla, Melissa Majonga, Emma Makoni, Francisca Sekete, Getrude Mapiye, Dorcas Marondera, Charity Mucucuti (first vice-captain), Margaret Kanyimo, Alexandra Maseko (captain).