Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
INTER Clube women’s team of Angola will be the first team to arrive for next week’s Zone 6 Basketball Club Championships to be played at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
The tournament has attracted teams from five regional countries, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and hosts Zimbabwe, and will run from October 20-29.
The winner of the men and women’s competitions will qualify for the African Club Championships, whose women’s event is set for next month in Mozambique, with the men’s finals date yet to be released.
Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, chairman of the local organising committee and technical manager of the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ), said defending continental women’s champions Primero de Augosto of Angola will not be featuring in the tournament having already secured a ticket to the African championships.
Also ruled out of the tournament is women’s team Ferroviario de Maputo from Mozambique.
“Everything is on course and teams are arriving this week. The Angolan women’s team arrives at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport on Thursday, with the other teams jetting in on Friday. It’s all systems go and we are ready for an epic tournament,” said Ndlovu.
Regional basketball powerhouse Angola will be represented by Primero de Augosto and Interclube in the men’s category.
Malawi, who will be making a maiden appearance at the regional club finals, are sending two men’s teams Brave Hearts and Central Knights. In the women’s category, Malawi will be represented by Brave Hearts.
Mozambique’s men’s teams coming for the games are Ferroviario de Maputo and Ferroviario de Beira.
Zambia’s UNZA Honeys and Napster Breeze have withdrawn from the competition citing financial challenges, leaving Matero Magics’ men’s team as their only representative.
Police Women and Police Men of Botswana have also withdrawn from the competition.
Bulawayo’s Lakers and Vixens from Harare will represent Zimbabwe in the women’s competitions, with Foxes and City Hornets of Harare taking part in the men’s category.