Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
MANICALAND’S fledgling girls basketball stars will have a once in a lifetime opportunity when they join their counterparts from other parts of the country for a high- profile four-day Under-17 Lead Camp to be conducted by United States of America coaches set for August.
Seven girls from Manicaland have been included in the Basketball Lead Camp which is sponsored by the United States of America embassy.
The squad was selected after a scouting session held at Mutare Girls High School over the weekend.
The girls will be trooping in camp during the August school holiday.
Kriste Mambo duo of Tatenda Gumi and Ruvimbo Mugura-Gumeni, Laizah Dakacha of Muzokomba High School, Mutare Girls High duo of Natasha Dube and Fungisai Mhlanga, Chenai Madechihwe of Chiundu School and Zvaitwa Katsidzira of Nyamauru High School made it into the provincial team.
They will be further selected into the national training camp where the organisers will select 40 best players from the whole country who will undergo training in Bulawayo.
The programme coordinator Belia Zibowa said the aim of the camp is to empower women and girls through sport.
“We are working with the US Embassy in Harare to facilitate basketball programmes to empower women and girls through sport. One such programme is the Lead Camp for girls’ Under-17 which is in its second year this year.
“We take 40 of the best female basketball prospects in the country and put them in camp for 4 days with both local and coaches from the USA. The idea is to not only improve their basketball skills but to teach them general life skills, hygiene, sex education and HIV and AIDS awareness education.
“This is the second year we are having this camp which is funded by the US embassy Harare. We had 24 girls in Manicaland and we managed to select seven that will take part in the national camp in August this year.
“We are very excited that from our first camp last year there are four girls that have been selected to take part in another leadership exchange programme in US starting in April. They will be travelling on April 5,” she said.
Basketball coach and Africa Outreach USA project director, Nash Majoni said they were hoping to have most of the players graduating to other national teams.
“For the country to have a formidable national team we have to have a sound base and that is why we are committed to identifying players at grassroots so that they are nurtured.
“This tournament was an eye-opener for everyone because we had players from rural and urban areas competing.
‘‘Actually the selectors saw that there is abundant talent in all parts of the province. We are happy because two of our girls Tatenda Gumi and Tadiwa Chiwanza will be travelling to United States of America for an exchange programme,” he said.