The 23rd edition of the Africa Golf Confederation Championships tees off tomorrow at Royal Harare Golf Club with 12 African countries taking part in the annual tournament which ends on March 31.
Speaking to the media in Harare on Monday, Zimbabwe Junior Golfers Association President, Themba Sibanda said all was set for the country to hold the event as all the participants are in the country.
“We are ready to tee off tomorrow and all junior golfers are raring to go. We have girls who will be participating for the first time in this competition, they too cannot wait to take part in this developmental tournament,” said Sibanda.
He noted that the reason behind including girls was ordinarily for development as they have been side lined in the previous editions.
“In 2012, the Junior World Cup introduced a girls’ tournament to run concurrently with the boys’ tournament and Africa was invited in the past two years and because South Africa being the dominant force in Africa golf, their girls’ team was given the invitation.
“It has however been decided that the girls’ representative from Africa must qualify like the boys and this years the All Africa Junior Golf Challenge will have a boys and girls event. This is great news as a lot of the times the girls’ side of the sports remains largely ignored,” added Sibanda.
Rhoda Muridzo who is the Zimbabwe girls’ team coach could not hide her excitement at being given the honor to take part in the championships as she said this will go a long way in promoting the sport to girls in the country.
“We are excited to be part of the championships because this is a first time that girls are taking part. Girls have for log been left out when it comes to golf and this gives us a chance to prove our mettle.
“We will obviously, as team Zimbabwe, be aiming to finish off as winners but we cannot ignore the fact that we have powerhouses like South Africa but we will do our best. My message to the girls is very simple, go out and enjoy yourselves,” said Muridzo.
Zimbabwe team Captain, Justin Kersten was in bullish mood ahead of the opening of the championships saying his charges were ready to have a go at defending champions South Africa.
“We would want to win this tournament and we hope we will do the nation proud. Obviously we know the conditions better so it will be an advantage to us. Most of the guys in the South African squad are not new to us because we have played with them on a number of occasions so its game on, we cannot wait to win it,” said Kersten.
Danielle Bekker, who will captain the girls’ team said her team was geared up for the challenge.
Eight countries including Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Malawi, Morocco, The Reunion Island, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe will take part in the championships which act as qualification for the Toyota World Cup Tournament.