NATIONAL karate coach Paul Danisa has expressed is confident that the Zimbabwe team, scheduled to leave for Botswana today for the Zone Six Championships will acquit themselves well. The championships are scheduled for Saturday in Gaborone and are expected to feature five countries -- Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Danisa said they have been preparing for the competition for quite sometime and they were raring to go.
"The team has been preparing for the past four to five months. We have boosted the technical department and definitely we are more organised than last year.
"We are taking 66 athletes and 10 officials. The youngest fighter is six years old and is going to participate in the individual kata in her age group.
"In the seniors we have experienced contenders in David Dube, Winston Nyanhete and Justin Mashiri but we also have upcoming youngsters such as Naomi Mandengenda, a 14-year-old from Dominican Convent school.
"We expect her to compete in both kata and kumite. There is also Jordan Swarres and Chica Ndiripo," said Danisa.
The national coach said he expects the team to do well in the tournament as the fighters have been working with experienced instructors such as Eugene Moody, Frank Muvhakachi, Andrew Musiiwa and Simbarashe Chihlava.
"Sensei Eugene Moody has a lot of experience, he was a coach when I was still competing so obviously his experience is invaluable and that's why we roped him into the team's preparations.
"He was also a national champion in both kata and kumite.
"I am expecting us to dominate in the juniors category and in the ladies there is great improvement but still there will be stiff competition from Botswana.
"They don't only have more exposure but this time they also have the home advantage.
"But in the senior men we have a big chance of winning in both team and individual categories. The Angolans are also a force to reckon with but I think we can get the better of them," said Danisa.
Zimbabwe Karate Union president, Joe Rugwete, said he is expecting some medals from the team.
"The team is going to do well because the mood has been great and the attitude has been brilliant. The guys are prepared and very enthusiastic to go and fight.
"We are expecting medals from the team. The competition is ranging from the children's category, juniors, cadets and seniors and we are going to field fighters across all the fields," said Rugwete. The karatekas have been preparing in Harare, Triangle and in the Midlands.