A TWENTY-four member Zimbabwe karate team will seek to lift the countrya��s flag high when they to plunge into action and fly the countrya��s flag high at the two-day African Union Sports Council Region Five championships that roar into life on Friday in Botswana.
Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU)A� technical director semi-contact style, Sensei Gerald Muusha,A� said he was confident that his charges, like they did in the previous edition in Maputo, Mozambique, would do well.
a�?We are taking 24 athletes to Botswana.A� We hope and believe they are going to do well in this yeara��s edition of the Region Five contest where we took 17 male and seven female athletes against eight other countries. Ia��m confident of a fine performance,a�? said Muusha.
He added:A� a�?Last year, Team Zimbabwe performed well in Mozambique. We scooped a number of gold medals when we had 17 athletes representing the country. Owing to financial challenges, we usually field a few participants at the event and in that regard we are grateful that this time around the number of our representatives has significantly increased.a�?
Captained by Dean Ramsy, Team Zimbabwe will largely bank on Bulawayo-based karateka Julius Dzikiti and last yeara��s gold medalist Tishana Sekerani.
Dzikiti is also the teama��s vice captain.
In Botswana, Zimbabwe will be without the young duo of Alexandra Mandengenda and Anesu Karadzandima who are reportedly preparing for their June and November Ordinary Level exams.
Last year, ZKU fielded 19 athletes in a tournament that featured five countries including Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique.
With their counterparts fielding more athletes, the team managed to pick three gold medals, two silver and eight bronze.
The gold medals came from Sekerani in the 14 to 15 years 47kg and Karadzandima weighed in with gold in the 14 to15 years girls kumite.
Mandengenda had gold in the girlsa�� 54kg kumite.
Botswana topped the medals table with 43 gold, followed by Namibia with 11 gold while South Africa and Mozambique had six and four gold medals respectively.
Muusha, who accompanied the team to Botswana, said they were grateful to AfricaBet for their continued support.
The team received karate equipment from AfricaBet ahead of the tournament.