Hornets eye regional basketball title

HARARE - Harare City Hornets will lead a list of four local teams that are set for this year’s Kingdom eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) Invitational International Basketball tournament scheduled for later this month.

Hornets, who were runners-up in the previous two editions of the regional tournament behind South Africa’s Jozi Nuggets on both occasions, will be joined by Green Stars, Lakers Foxes and Vixens as well as their ladies team.

The tournament is scheduled from June 22 to 24 with teams from Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana among others set to take part at the annual basketball tournament.

Previous champions Jozi Nuggets of South Africa will not be available at this year’s tournament raising Hornets’ hopes of lifting their first regional title. In the previous two years, Hornets has been coming second to Jozi Nuggets.

Hornets chairperson Sani Mbofana said they are doing all to ensure the team is in the best shape for the regional tournament.

“We have already started our preparations and they are well on track. We are sure that we will do well. We are going there to compete and not as tourists.

“We have a very good track record when it comes to participating in international games and we want to maintain it,” Mbofana said.

“So yes, after coming second in the previous two editions, we hope to go all the way this time. We know it will not be easy and it requires a lot of work from everyone. There are a lot of good teams there but the good thing is that the boys are motivated to do well.”

Mbofana added: “We have lost two important players in Tatenda Maturure and Neville Chivhanganye to Phoenix International of South Africa. We still have one of the best roasters and gold is what we are aiming for.”

The tournament has been running for the past seven years and attracts clubs from the Sadc region with such countries like Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique contributing the bulk of the teams.

Zimbabwean side Cameo have won the tournament twice but will not be available for this edition.