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FIBA Pledges US$10,000 to Zimbabwe
    2008-11-30 19:33:00     Xinhua
Zone Six International Basketball Federation (FIBA) president Anibal Manabe believes Zimbabwe, whose clubs Raiders and JBC respectively finished fifth and sixth at the just-ended regional Men's Africa Club Championships in Lusaka, Zambia has the potential to become a continental giant.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Lusaka championships Manabe revealed his association is pledging US$10,000 for the development of local basketball, according to reports by The Sunday Mail.

"FIBA has been closely following basketball in Zimbabwe. Right now you cannot compete with Angola as they are way ahead. However, in terms of talent, the rift is not so big because at junior level you can beat Angola as was witnessed in June this year," said Manabe.

"The only route is to harness the talent as the players graduate into the league from school. Angolans have already done that as has Mozambique and teams like Zimbabwe should not lose hope because of the scorelines by which they are losing to Angolans and the Mozambicans. However, one thing that you have to admire in the Zimbabweans is their seriousness. This is why we placed them on our developmental structures. Once the structures are put in place, you will see what I am talking about," Manabe said.

"Next year there will be Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and Zimbabwe stands a good chance to host the games as they have the infrastructure. Who knows they may qualify because Angola and Mozambique are already through," added the FIBA boss.

Manabe said another plus for Zimbabwe is that, for the first time it now has Fiba-certified referees in Shinga Magede, Joice Muchenu and Forbes Shuva.

"I am happy to point out that your country now has three FIBA certified referees. This is a very positive step towards greatness. I was very impressed with the way Shuva imposed himself. With time, he can be among the best referees on the continent," he said.

The tournament was, however, robbed of its gloss following the expulsion of Zambian teams Heroes and Hetro Bullets in the second round after Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) failed to pay affiliation as well as participation fees amounting to US$9,000.

The expulsion of Zambian clubs paved way for Zimbabwean teams to play each other for the fifth and sixth positions which was eventually won by Raiders 46-41.

In group stages JBC lost all its matches to Angola's Atletico Sportivo de Aviacao (ASA), Feroviarrio of Mozambique and Hetro of Zambia while Raiderz proved no match for nine-time continental champions Primeira de Agosto, Feroviarrio de Beira and Zambia's Heroes Play.
 
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