The Zimbabwe amateur golf team did the nation proud finishing an impressive second behind South Africa at the All Africa Team Championships held at Swazi Spa in Ezulwini, Swaziland, recently.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Comprising Christian Mbanga (Cpt), Clive Nguru, Biggie Chibvuri and Thembalami Vundla, the team even had the audacity to take a four-shot lead on the first day of the tournament, eventually ceding control to favourites South Africa.
More satisfying for the Rodger Baylis-coached Zimbabwe team was the fact that they managed to better their fourth place finish achieved at Benoni Lake in South Africa two years ago at the biennial tournament.
Eventually, South Africa successfully gunned their seventh consecutive victory in Africa’s premier biennial team’s competition finishing the tourney on 830, 26 shots ahead of Zimbabwe on 856, while hosts Swaziland were 30 shots adrift on 886.
A total of 11 countries including Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Reunion, Namibia, Uganda, Botswana and Mauritius participated at this year’s All Africa Team Championships.
Standardsport spoke with the team manager Themba Sibanda who shared his overall assessment on the Swaziland expedition.
“Having had first-hand experience of top African amateur golf through the All Africa Team Championships, I would say that Zimbabwe certainly has the talent to compete with the best.
“However, we lack a ‘national team talent identification and development programme’ and I would like to propose that the ZGA set aside resources which are not necessarily financial but all about time structures and effort,” he said.
“We need to identify our teams for Zone V, All Africa Championships and any other event that we participate in as a country. We need to then work on the players’ weaknesses well in advance, as opposed to working on players a month or two before a tournament,” added Sibanda.
The national team is picked according to the current order of merit of a current amateur golf season, a system which Sibanda feels is not drastic enough with regard to improving the players.
Clive Nguru, one of the country’s golfing prospects was the best placed Zimbabwean, finishing an overall third place in individual ratings with a nine under par score.