ZIMBABWE : All set for Kings basketball tournament

THE fifth edition of the Kings basketball tournament is set to start this Friday with 16 men's teams and 11 women's to participate.The tournament will also have a bit of international flair with Troopers of Botswana expected to take part in the tournament.

Kings spokesperson Joe Mujuru said they were expecting eight Bulawayo teams and five from Harare. 'The tournament will be held on Friday up to Sunday and we are expecting 16 men's teams and 11 women's teams.'We also expect the national Under-21 basketball team and a Botswana team to participate at the tournament,' said Mujuru.

Other teams that are expected to take part in the tournament will be from Mutare and Gweru.Last year the tournament was won by Giants in the men's category and Highlanders took the women's championship. Harare basketball giants Jewels are also set to take part. Last year they were defeated in the final by Bulawayo's Giants.

Mujuru said registration closed last night and the draw would be done this evening at BCD courts. 'Registration was open until this evening (yesterday) and we will be conducting the draw tomorrow night (today) at BCD. 'The teams will be pooled and they will play a round robin in those pools. The finals will be held on Sunday,' he said.

Mujuru said the tournament had no sponsor but they have shields and medals to present to the winners and outstanding players. 'We do not have a sponsor but we are going to present shields and medals to the winning teams and outstanding players. There are no monetary prizes,' he said.

Bulawayo will probably be represented by teams in the basketball league which include Stars, Sentinels, Oilers, ALCC, ZB Titans, Lords, Giants and Kings. In the women's category defending champions Highlanders, Giants and Lakers will probably be part of the tournament.

Troopers, who are coming in from Botswana, have former Zimbabwe players who include Michael 'Hooper' Banda and Philani Ncube, both of whom played for Highlanders, and Raymond Mudzudzo formerly of Cavaliers. The Harare teams, who have in the past dominated the sport, will have a tough time against Bulawayo teams this year as the locals seem to be training hard for the tournament.