ZKU confident ahead of 2017 tournaments

Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Karate Union technical director (semi-contact) Gerald Muusha is optimistic of the national team’s chances ahead of this year’s regional and international competitions.

Most of the events are expected to get underway in April and some of the major tournaments include the African Championships in May in Cameroon.

It will be followed by the Zone Six Championships in Mozambique in June and the Junior World Championships in October.

“We have got a team in place which we want to put together, full of experienced practitioners. So, I think all we need is to start working hard towards the championships.

“We have got, in the senior men, Dean Ramsey, the likes of David Dube, he is a veteran and has been doing it for a while.

“We think he can get a medal for us at the African Championships. In the juniors, we have Tanaka Mazhata and we have got quite a number of girls we think can do us proud at the African Championships,” said Muusha.

He, however, said their major challenge was lack of funds, which has seen most of the athletes funding themselves to compete outside the country.

“Most of these events are self-sponsored, so we always appeal to the corporate world for assistance, otherwise we have experienced practitioners who are ready to go,” said Muusha.

ZKU president, Paul Danisa, echoed the same concerns and said the availability of funds will determine the number of athletes they will field in the events.

“We have started preparing. But, obviously, in terms of the team we will take there, it would be subject to availability of funds for travelling and accommodation.

“We normally take 80 (for the Zone Six) athletes because we have age groups from 8 years all the way up to the seniors.

“So it’s a bigger thing that we will be looking at. If we can raise $50 000 we should be able to send a reasonable team,” said Danisa.

The karate mother body use their end-of-year tournament, Champion of Champions, to select potential karatekas that are likely to make it in the nation teams.

And Danisa said for the Zone Six they will be finalising the final team in April.

“Normally, we use the Champion of Champions tournament we had end of December to select teams for the next year.

“We will come up with the final team end of April because by then we will know who is able to travel. I am hoping this time we can actually win.

“We have had some juniors who came through the ranks,” said Danisa.

Last year, Zimbabwe hosted the Zone Six Championships and came second behind Botswana.

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