The Zimbabwe Under-21 hockey teams have stepped up their preparations for the World Cup Africa Qualifying tournament to be held in South Africa from October 13-20.
Report by Ranganai Dzotizei
The teams have been training for weeks and both the ladies and men’s coaches have expressed confidence the teams will make an impression at the qualifiers.
Zimbabwe will face the likes of South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana at the tournament with a ticket to represent Africa at the Junior World Cup in India next year in the offing.
Ladies coach Edson Banda said the team would go as underdogs.
“The team is training well. There are no injuries and against all odds, we shall do our best,” Banda said.
Men’s assistant coach, Fidelis Majuba echoed the same sentiments, adding that he expected the team to play better now that they were used to the astro turf.
“It will be difficult. South Africa and Egypt are our greatest threats, but this time we are confident we can do better,” he said.
Hockey Association of Zimbabwe president, Farai Kanyangarara revealed that the final squads would be named after the association’s annual general meeting slated for September 22.
However, Kanyangarara highlighted that lack of sponsorship was their greatest undoing and urged the corporate world to come and assist the teams.
“There are some logistical aspects we need to sort out and we urge corporates to chip in so that we fulfill our obligations,” he said.
The Zimbabwean team has not played any preparatory matches to date, a stark contrast to their South African counterparts, who recently played some invitational tournaments.