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IT’S TIME TO PLAY BALL

THE Zimbabwe women’s senior basketball team is expected to convene today as preparations for the AfroBasket qualifiers finally begin. ByTinashe Kusema

Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and hosts Mozambique will battle it out for the sole ticket to the continental showcase from March 3-12.

Zimbabwe have the odds heavily stacked against them, but coach Erinous Kasaruware is ready to give it a go and has called in a strong 26-member squad, with United States-based centre Alex Maseko and Precious Pezani are set to bounce back into the fold.

“This is very important tournament for us, and as such we have decided to call in our best and most experienced players,” said Kasaruware. “In terms of experience, it doesn’t really get any better than Alex and Precious.”

Maseko has been plying her trade on the US collegiate circuit and the 27-year old last played for Zimbabwe at the 2013 AfroBasket finals.

Pazani has been sidelined for over a year after sustaining an injury while playing rugby.

“This experienced pair will join the likes of Dorcas Marondera, Margret Kanyimo, Pretty Kanyimo and Charity Mucucuti; players who have all competed at the AfroBasket finals before and will help guide some of the younger girls adapt,” said Kasaruware.

According to Basketball Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Joe Mujuru, at least four camps will be held between now and the team’s March 1 departure.

“We have already received the coach’s action plan, and he wants to hold about four camps before the team leaves for Maputo. The camps are mostly for the local based players, who will be meeting every Sunday under the watchful eyes of the coach and his assistant Vivian Vareta.

“Given that he has already been monitoring the foreign based players from Zambia and South Africa, he intends to trim the local based players before the team meets for the compulsory camp at the end of next month.

“We will do our part to try to facilitate that camp, and have included it in our budget for the tournament,” he said.

Squad

Yolanda Mangwende, Geraldine Chibonda, Stabile Ngandini, Jacqueline Penduka, Pretty Tinarwo (Lakers), Sibongile Mkandla, Melissa Majonga, Brandina Muleya (Mavericks), Serina Chareka, Emma Makoni, Petra Mukondo (JBC), Shamiso Sigale, Francesca Sekete (Raiderz), Getrude Mapiye, Happiness Maroto, Tadiwa Mabika (Greenstars), Mary Chawapiyira, Nyasha Katsatse, Dorcaws Marondera (Zambia), Charity Chigumba (SA), Charity Mucucuti, Margret Kanyimo, Precious Pezani (Vixens), Alex Maseko (US), Kudakwashe Dzawanda, Caroline Chauke (UZ Stars)

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