ZIMBABWE Cricket will next week send two age-group sides to take part in South Africa cricket festival in the Under-14 and Under-17 categories. The Under-14s, who are under the tutelage of David Mutendera, will leave first next Saturday for their tournament in Boland scheduled to run from 9-13 December.
Then the Under-17 squad will depart on December 11 to take part in another schoolboy cricket week in Cape Town from December 12-16.
Their coach, Walter Chawaguta, yesterday said the tour was very important for grassroots development as it gives the young players exposure to the international game.
He said they will be hoping to build on the confidence gained from previous tour to the Eastern Junior Club Cricket Association which included the bulk of the players in the current squad.
Zimbabwe finished the tournament unbeaten and were voted the team of the tournament.
Chawaguta said they have made slight changes to the team to accommodate Under-17 players like Clive Chitumba, Edward Byrom and Gary King in this age-group.
"We did well the last time we went down to South Africa but this time it should be a bit more difficult because this is no longer a provincial tournament.
"It involves the whole of South Africa so competition should be higher.
"As from next Tuesday we should be having full team practice because we were only limited to afternoon practices because the boys were in school and some were writing exams," said Chawaguta.
Zimbabwe are not new to the schoolboy cricket festivals in South Africa as they regularly get invitations to the tournaments.
Started in 1986, the CSA Cricket Week is a key component of the South African board's development programme and, according to their website, "is part of a pathway from grassroots levels through to the national team and provides aspirant cricketers with an opportunity to realise their full potential."
Edwards Byrom, Herbert Chikomba, Clive Chitumba, Kieran Geyle, Joylord Gumbie, Dylan Hondo, Luke Jongwe, Gary King, Hendrichs Macheke, Patrick Mambo, Tarisai Musakanda, Jack Myers and Campbell Saul.
Manson Chikowero, Robert Chiminya, Alvin Chiradza, Graham Curtis, Alistar Frost, Taun Harrison, Munyaradzi Madhombiro, Richard Matewa, Blessed Mutandwa, Tinashe Nenhunzi, Liam Roche,Rahul Vaghmaria and Damiain White.