The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
The Zimbabwe National Baseball team is in camp since last Wednesday at Hamilton High School in preparation for the South Zone Games that begin on Saturday in South Africa.
Zimbabwe has set its sights on taking part in the Africa Olympic Qualifier scheduled for South Africa next month but first have to make it past the South Zone Games.
Making it into the top two of the three-team tournament will give Zimbabwe passage to the Africa Olympic Qualifier.
Zimbabwe Baseball Association president, Morris Banda said they also welcomed coach, Nao Tsutsumi, a Japanese national who will be taking the boys through their paces during the two tournaments.
“Tsutsumi arrived yesterday (Wednesday) the same day that players trooped into camp. Although he will be with the boys for just a week, we are confident we they are going to pick up several crucial aspects.
“Our target is to make it beyond to the African qualifiers and hopeful get the Olympic slot,” he said.
Banda said they will leave on Wednesday for the South Zone Games which kick off on Saturday.
Lesotho and Zimbabwe will battle with hosts South Africa from Friday to Sunday at the Boksburg Baseball Club for two slots to make it to the Africa Olympic Qualifier.
These two teams will meet four teams that will qualify from the other two groups namely; West Zone (Ghana, Burkina Faso and Nigeria) and East Zone (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda).
The Africa Olympic Qualifier will be held from 1 to 5 May at the same venue and will involve six teams from West Zone, East Zone and South Zone.
The team that will win at the Africa Olympic Qualifier will proceed to play in the Europe/Africa Olympic Games Continental Qualifier with the winning team securing a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We have not been playing at international level for the past eight years as baseball had been scrapped from the Olympics and is only making a return next year. For us it will be more of testing our capabilities and gauging our abilities against nations that have been playing internationally such as South Africa who even have players plying in countries such as the United States and France.
“Our team has however, been taking part in South Africa’s inter-provincial tournaments and I think we can put up a good fight. In our corner, we also have Japanese head coach, Nao Tsutsumi and we believe his leadership will be valuable,” said Banda.
ZBA announced an 18 member strong team to represent Zimbabwe and features players that were selected during national training camps that were held around the country.
Vincent Chaima, Thembani Moyo, Blessing Fredy, Witness Muzire, Tanyaradzwa Hugwe, Hloniphani Ngulube, Tanyaradzwa Katsaruware, Tadiwanashe Bhasera, Nathaniel Kutsanza, Pika Collen Tashinga,
Tinashe Kwangwari, Lovejoy Saungweme, Nelson Mapika, Sherperd Sibanda, Luxton Mawanga, Joel Tenderere, Emmanuel Moyo, Cliff Shane Vint
Brandon Majobo, Kelvin Kawadza, Sean Sande, Eldon Mudzingwa, Cuthbert Nyamangara, Carl Shaun Vint