The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE’S senior men’s national basketball coach, Addison Chiware, has opted for a more pragmatic approach as he seeks to tackle this week’s Afro-Basket pre-qualifiers.
Having been notified by Fiba Africa that they will be hosting the preliminary rounds of the qualifiers two weeks ago, the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) has expressed concern over the short notice they were given.
“On top of the usual Afro-Basket Championships, we now have a World Cup tournament. That has brought with it numerous logistical headaches for both Fiba Africa and us as a union,” said BUZ president Joe Mujuru.
“Both tournaments have a four-year cycle. There have been frantic efforts to make the necessary adjustments to the calendar.
“We were only notified, by Fiba Africa, that we will be hosting the preliminary rounds of the qualifiers two weeks ago.
“Ever since then, we have been running around and organising the event. The economy has hit us hard like everybody else, and credit goes to our organising committee for doing such a stellar job with limited resources and on short notice.
“The good thing is that we are almost ready and should be able to hold the week-long tournament without a hitch,” he said.
But already, apathy has hit the tournament hard, with South Africa and Comoros withdrawing.
lt will therefore be a three-way battle between Madagascar, Zambia and hosts Zimbabwe.
The tournament, slated for January 21 to 26 at the City Sports Center, will be played in a round-robin format, after which the winner will progress to the next stage.
Chiware has since named an otherwise unchanged team from the one that took part in the CAN qualifiers mid last year.
The only notable changes see Assassins’ point guard Nathan Warikanda Dyvonne Pfachi (JBC) and Tatenda Tswatswa (Foxes) coming in to bolster Chiware’s attack, which was often found wanting during the CAN qualifiers against Mozambique and Zambia last year.
France-based centre Vitalis Chikoko is the most notable and only absentee.
“You have to understand that this is all at short notice. Ideally, I would have wanted more time with the team to adequately prepare my boys,” said Chiware.
“But this is not a BUZ issue, rather it is a Fiba Africa issue. The problem is affecting everyone.
“That said, I have called up more or less the same team that did duty last time, only adding two reinforcements.
“We couldn’t call up some of our foreign-based stars. Their clubs would never allow them to leave on such short notice.
“We will have to go in with the guys we have at our disposal. We will do the best we can and hope for the best. It is what it is.
“The target remains the same, which is to win and progress, and we have done everything possible to prepare for that,” he said.
Nathan Warikanda, Dyvonne K Pfachi, Wishes Kakomo, Tawanda Chitsinde, Warren Tegama Tatenda Tswatswa, Noah Penduka, Charles Wilson, Agrippa Masvisvi , Munashe Makumbe, Tatenda Maturure, Simba Mungomezi, Taurai Chitsinde, Ben Nyatanga, Norman Chimukanda, Nyasha Zamani, Neville Chivhanganye, Everisto Pasipamire