HARARE Basketball Men’s A League log leaders Harare City Hornets have cemented their growing reputation in the domestic game by providing 12 players to the Zimbabwe senior team’s provisional squad for the Afro basketball championships qualifiers scheduled for early next month.
City Hornets have been on a roll since powering their way back into the A League with a dominant unbeaten campaign in the B League last year, during which they also won the Bob 92 championship.
They are also unbeaten in the A League and on Saturday they registered a comprehensive 87-45 win over giants Cameo at Richwood court.
Crucially for the “Sting of Excellence’’ as Hornets are affectionately known have provided the biggest chunk of players in the provisional squad announced by the Basketball of Union Zimbabwe.
Hornets’ captain and shooting guard Duncan Shenje leads the cast of players from the Harare A league table toppers.
Shenje, voted his club’s best player for 2016 was in the Zimbabwe team which took part at the last Afro-basket championships in Tunisia.
Big centre Brian Hore and forward Tatenda Maturure have also been retained in the squad.
Zimbabwe coach Emmanuel Mukandi has also spiced up his squad with foreign based stars who include Fred Manyau Jnr who plies his trade in the United States with Missouri, France-based Vitalis Chikoko, Julian Mavunga who is playing for Shiga Lakestars in Japan and Tichafara Mabhiza of Tshwane Suns in South Africa.
BUZ president Addison Chiware yesterday said they were still waiting for the outcome of the Afro-Basket qualifiers draw to know the identity of their opponents.
Chiware said the draw would also help them get a clear picture of what to expect as they begin their preparations for the qualifications.
The draw was scheduled for yesterday but by last night BUZ were still to get the outcome.
There are eight countries combined from Zone Six and Zone Seven — Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe fighting for the three spots to the finals scheduled for later this year.
“We are also waiting eagerly for the draw. I think the coaches are already doing their work.
“Preparations have already begun, they are rolling out their plan. Everything will be confirmed by the draw. The news of the draw will help the coaches to put intact their plans,” said Chiware.
The eight countries will be divided into two groups and the matches will be played over two legs.
“Three teams from the Zone qualifies. Zone Six and Zone Seven were combined. So there are going to be two groups.
“They will play home and away matches. Each group will play home and away games at one venue, that’s in one country and then go to another country and play all their away matches.
“The top two from the groups automatically qualify and Group A number two and Group B number two will play home and away to choose the best (third) team,” said Chiware.
Zimbabwe qualified for the championships held in Tunisia, in 2015 and will be hoping to repeat the same feat this year. But Chiware said looking at the countries that will battle it out for qualification, they have a mammoth task ahead of them as both groups are likely to provide tough competition.
“Those eight teams are strong. Three of those teams — Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were at the Afro-Basket in Tunisia, so already they want to go back.