Zim women basketball team in limbo

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s women basketball team’s participation at the 2013 Fiba African Championships that start in Maputo on Friday hangs in the balance due to financial constraints.

The Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (Buz) has appealed to both government and the corporate world to help make the trip to Mozambique a reality.

Zimbabwe is expected to lock horns with Mozambique as part of Friday’s opening ceremony in Maputo before facing Algeria on Saturday.

The Skhumbuzo Ndlovu coached side face Senegal on Sunday, Egypt on Tuesday before wrapping up their group fixtures against Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

“The trip definitely hangs in the balance, we have no funding,” Buz general manager for national teams, Shinga Magede told the Daily News.

“Maybe it’s because sport is not a priority in the country. We have appealed to both government and the corporate world but we are still in limbo.

Magede said Buz had drawn up a budget of $39 000 to cover the expenses that go with the trip.

“$18 000 of that money is to go towards accommodation, meals, internal transportation, player licences and official licences.

“$3 000 is for medical expenses. $5 500 is for transport to and from Maputi using a hired bus. The balance would have gone towards allowances for players and officials.

“But the allowance issue in this scenario becomes a luxury but in truth it’s not a luxury. These people are on work for their nation.  They deserve to get paid. But such is harsh reality we are faced with.

“We often preach about the girl child and wanting to develop and expose the girl child, well here is the opportunity.

“At this level even the tourism sector will benefit immensely whether we are travelling as ambassadors of the nation or we are receiving players.

“If the sport industry is taken seriously it’s a source of employment. Do you know how many players we have put together for the different sports codes?”

The Fiba-certified referee added that Zimbabwe’s absence from the continental basketball extravaganza will not only break the spirits of the players but it will dent the image of the country.

“I can tell you the whole world will be watching the opening ceremony on SuperSport,” said Magede.

“Now just imagine Mozambique on the court and it being announced that ‘our neighbours Zimbabwe have not made it due to financial constraints’.”

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JUSTICE - 20 September 2013

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