19 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Local Players for African Junior Championships

TEN local junior players are expected to take part in the Under-18 African Junior Championships to be held next month in South Africa. The tournament is scheduled to run from February 18 to 23 with players from across the globe expected to compete.

Participants in this tournament are determined by their rankings and TZ administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, said they have applied for wild cards for three players that could automatically qualify since they do not have points.

So far Zimbabwe has seven players that automatically qualify to play in the tournament -- Ronzai Saurombe, Courtney Lock, Valeria Bhunu, Thabile Tshatedi, Zahra Finnigan, Nicole Dzenga and Latifah Yasini.

Taremeredzwa Mariga, Luca Picci and Alwyn Mushonga will be hoping to make it through wild cards.

Nhokwara said there was need for local players to work on their confidence if they are going to make an impact at the tournament against countries such as South Africa.

"It's a combination of individual confidence of players and on coaching I think we also need to step forward to say we should beat two or three people in the top 10, we have to set goals.

"They need to put goals and work for them by participating in tougher competitions but not only that but also as many of them as possible," said Nhokwara. Nhokwara said they were hoping to organise a weeklong camp for the team before they head for South Africa.

"We are going to have a one week camp for them a week before they travel but we are looking at locally based players.

"The likes of Valeria and Dzenga are already active with Valeria playing in the futures and Dzenga is playing in some tournaments in South Africa so we have to focus on the players we have here," said Nhokwara.

Team coach, Martin Dzuwa, said the camp will give him a chance to assess the players that are currently training with different coaches at their basis.

"We have a few that might do well such as Bhunu, Lock and Ronzai. For the others they are still Under-16 and I am not expecting much from them but it's going to be a good experience for them.

"Some of them have been playing in these tournaments but this one is going to be tough," said Dzuwa.

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