African Games team named

HARARE – Track and field stars Ngoni Makusha and Gabriel Mvumvure lead a star studded cast of athletes that will carry Zimbabwe’s hopes at the African Games set for Congo-Brazzaville in September.

‘Old War Horse’ Kirsty Coventry, who has been Zimbabwe’s biggest medal harvester at the last two editions of the Games has also been picked on current form.

At 31-years-old, the two-time Olympic gold medallist has been proving critics wrong that age is no barrier.

She recently secured a World Championship place with a win in the 200-meter backstroke at the Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa in Arizona in April.

Also part of the cast is top basketball player Vitalis Chikoko whose impressive performances Serie A side Grissin Bon Reggio in Italy has not gone unnoticed.

There is also a place for national decathlon record holder Keegan Cooke.

The former University of Arizona student broke the long standing national record held by national great Stan Flowers for 23 years in 2012 before he again bettered his mark last year and will be expected to lead Zimbabwe’s medal chase in decathlon.

African Championships cycling gold medallists Helen Mitchell of Hellenic Academy and Skye Davidson will be the country’s medal hopefuls in cycling.

Elsewhere, Takanyi Garanganga will lead Zimbabwe’s tennis team hoping to rediscover the form that saw him strike gold at the African Games in 2011.

In rugby sevens, Zimbabwe will not be short of talent when Daniel Hondo and his side troop into the central African country in September.

Buoyed by their performance in Hong Kong that saw them miss core-status qualification by a whisker, the Jacques Leitao captained side will be hunting for nothing short of a podium finish.

Zimbabwe’s Under-23 football side coached by Calisto Pasuwa will enter the Games with their chests out and shoulders high after dismantling Cameroon en route to qualifying for the biggest sporting extravaganza in Africa.

Meanwhile, Team Zimbabwe’s management is headed Joseph Muchechetere as the Chef de Mission.

Muchechetere is deputised by Joe Rugwete from Zimbabwe Karate Union while seasoned swimming technical official Kathy Lobb is heading the technical side of the team.

Giving his analysis on squad, Muchechetere said it was a rigorous exercise to come up with what he termed a provisional list in which every athlete needed to keep competing at a high level to secure a permanent place.

“It has not been an easy task because everyone who is taking part in sport wants to be part of these Games,” he said. “But we can’t take everyone with us.”

Team: (Athletics) Francis Zimwara, Keegan Cooke, Brian Mada, Ngoni Makusha, Gabriel Mvumvure, Tendai Zimuto, Olivia Chitate, Maryjoy Mudyiravanji, Nomagugu Ndlovu, Caroline Mhandu. (Basketball) Taurai Chitsinde, Tawanda Chitsinde, Neville Chivhanganye, Everisto Pasipamire, Duncan Shenje, Tatenda Maturure, Simbarashe Mungomezi, Brian Hore, Sternard Mapurisa Billy Melusi, Vatalis Chikoko. (Beach Volleyball men) Nyashadzashe Takawira, Rufaro Choto, Simbarashe Chidziwa, Keith Makaire, Kudzanai Chironga. (Beach Volleyball women) Media Mafuta, Tsungirirai Taderera, Viola Muchaoona, Progress Gasa, Vuyiswa Dhlomo. (Cycling) Helen Mitchell, Skye Davidson. (Gymnastics) Kudzaishe Nyazvingo, Privilege Sande. (Judo) Lazarus Arufandika, Sydney Chibwayi. (Karate) Winston Nyanhete, Gerald Muusha, Unesu Hlahla. (Swimming) Chad Idensohn, Sean Gunn, James Lawson, Peter Wetzlar, Kirsty Coventry, Robyn Lee. (Taekwondo) Philip Rufasha. (Tennis) Takanyi Garanganga, Benjamin Lock, Mark Fynn, Valerie Bhunu, Rufaro Chirewa, Pauline Chawafambira.

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