Zim name strong AfroBasket squad

HARARE - A host  of foreign-based players headline Zimbabwe senior men’s basketball provisional team set to take part in the 28th Africa Nations Championship in Tunisia.

The tournament runs from August 19 to 30 with Zimbabwe’s men basketball side making their first ever appearance at Africa’s biggest basketball showpiece.

Among the illustrious names in the Taurai Chitsinde-captained side is Dubai-based shooting guard Robert Mugabe Junior.

Robert Jnr is stepping out of the shadows of his father and proving that his talent is something to behold.

The Zimbabwe president’s son starred for the Under-18 side and now has an opportunity to make the step up into the senior team.

Italy-based forward Vitalis Chikoko, South Africa-based centre Andrew Gonese and United Kingdom-based guard Wilson Juma will all be vying for selection in the final 12-man team.

Cape Town University guard Stenard Mapurisa, Italy-based power forward Julian Mavunga and Ireland-based guard Hillary Netsiyanwa complete the foreign-based contingent.

“The foreign-based players have been paying for their airfares in and out of Zimbabwe for camps showing tremendous amount of commitment,” Shinga Magede national team general manager told the Daily News.

“The provisional team has so far had three training camps gearing towards AfroBasket 2015 where we are drawn in Group D with Ivory Coast, Cape Verde and Algeria.

“We are still in the middle of fact finding, doing background checks of our opponents. This is our first time with the men’s team so we want to do our best,” said Magede.

He added: “Not that we haven’t been good enough but sometimes we were not able to compete in the qualifiers due to financial constraints.”

Ivory Coast are the group favourites as they are making their 22nd appearance in the tournament.

They have one African basketball title under their belt.

Angola are tournament favourites having won the biannual tournament on 11 occasions in the 27 editions they have participated in.

Continental basketball powerhouses Senegal and Egypt have won it five times apiece.

The tournament is being used as a qualifying platform for the 2016 Olympics Games.

Zim Squad: Eric Banda, Vitalis Chikoko, Kuda Chimana, Tawanda Chitsinde, Taurai Chitsinde, Neville Chivhanganye, Munyaradzi Gonese, Brian Hore, Wilson Juma, Stenard Mapurisa, Agrippa Masvisvi, Tatenda Maturure, Julian Mavunga, Robert Mugabe Junior, Simbarashe Mungomezi, Moses Muyambo, Hillary Netsiyanwa, Everisto Pasipamire, Duncan Shenje.

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