The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE’S athletes are taking various routes to Tokyo 2020.
While the majority are in Morocco for the 12th African Games, the sport that won this country’s first Olympic medal, hockey, will be plotting it’s Olympic journey in South Africa.
Stellenbosch hosts the Olympic qualifier from August 12 to 18, featuring South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
All the teams will be playing for one spot to be in Tokyo in the men’s category.
In the Women’s section, only Egypt will be exempted from competing.
However, Zimbabwe men’s coach Tongai Mukwewa said his side is motivated ahead of the qualifying tourney.
“Playing international matches is motivation enough.
“Everyone is relishing this opportunity, we obviously know what’s at stake and how difficult it will be playing against these teams, but we go there ready to give it our best,” said Mukwewa.
The national coach is pleased with the team’s progress, saying preparations for the qualifiers started over a year ago.
“Our preparations are not overnight, we started planning and preparing last year. So we are now ready for this tournament.”
Zimbabwe men’s captain Tendai Maredza says his teammates want to make the nation proud while realising their Olympic dream.
“Well we have been working hard and did well the last time we played in Bulawayo. So we just need to stay focused, do well on the park and make the nation proud.
“It’s always a big thing when you know you have a chance to make it to the Olympics, every athlete dreams of going to the Olympics,” said Maredza.
Maredza is also the team’s goalkeeper. He knows he carries the extra responsibility of being at his best between the posts if Zimbabwe is to realise the Olympic dream.