HARARE – An unprepared Zimbabwe is hoping to make their second chance count when fighting for the final qualification slot for Fiba AfroBasket 2017.
Zimbabwe will throw everything they have when they open their account with a tough assignment today against the highly ranked Central African Republic (Car), in Bamako, Mali today.
Playing without influential talisman Vitalis Chikoko, who suffered an injury a month ago, they will then need to overcome Chad to complete in this year’s 16-team FIBA AfroBasket line-up.
Chikoko’s professional career has been on the up aided by a strong FIBA Europe Cup campaign for the iconic Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France but he will only be able to make a contribution if the side progresses.
The winner of this additional qualifier will replace D R Congo, who withdrew from the hosting duties of the Final Round.
The Innocent Sithole-coached side entered the qualifiers through a wild card process having come unstuck in the Zone 6 Group H qualifiers.
Zimbabwe’s 70-68 win over South Africa in last month’s Fiba Africa Zone 6 playoff wasn’t good enough to avoid a 142-137 defeat on aggregate.
They will now need to dig deep to beat former African champions Car who will definitely be drawing inspiration from their close two-leg match against Democratic Republic of Congo.
Car had overcome the Congolese in the second game of Fiba Africa Zone 4 Group 2, but were unable to avoid a 161-144 defeat on aggregate in the two-game regional qualifier.
Chad who will be waiting for Zimbabwe on Saturday are also a handful, if their recent form is anything to go by.