Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
CHAMPIONS Girls High School are banking on their experienced trio to help them defend the crown in the annual national Under-20 basketball tournament in their own backyard today.
The tournament, which has grown in prominence over the last five years, has attracted 12 boys and as many girls teams.
With traditional powerhouses Mt Pleasant, Murehwa High, Evelin and Bradley all eyeing the big prize on the Girls High shelf, the champions have turned to their Harare Basketball Association League superstars to aid them in their bid to retain the title.
Talented Happiness Maroto, who has played a pivotal role to Harare City Hornets’ ascendency to the top of the HBA table, and the duo of Greenstars’ Tadiwa Mabika and Tanaka Banda are expected to play a critical role to ensure their side emerge victorious.
The school’s head of basketball, Andrew Chafota, told The Herald yesterday that his team will be looking for inspiration from the trio who were also part of the team which won the tournament last year.
“It is always tricky to be facing any opposition in this national Under-20 tournament. Whoever you play at this stage is well prepared, cautious and very offensive.
“It is even more worrisome when it crosses your mind that you will be expected to do more since you are the defending champions.
“The tourney will obviously be tough considering that the type of opposition we will be facing are no push-overs. You talk of Bradley, Queen Elizabeth, Mt Pleasant and others. These are some of the best teams you always have to respect.
“But, we are Girls High, a team with experienced players, some of whom play in the top-flight Harare provincial league. Better still, some of them are playing for different academies.
“Most players, whom we are using for this tournament, were there last year when we turned on a super show to win that crown. That is an edge over others. I think we have what it takes to defend the trophy,” he said.
Prince Edward, Churchill, Morgan High and Bradley, who are the reigning NASH champions, Chindunduma, Allan Wilson, St Ignatius, as well as Goromonzi, are all tipped to land the gong.
Winners will walk away with trophies and medals after the organisers failed to get enough sponsors for the fiesta.