Zimbabwe is not a known in basketball circles as a power house but interest is being generated in the Southern African country since President Robert Mugabe’s son was drafted into the national basketball team.
Robert Mugabe Jr. is part of the Under 18 national team which is currently hard in training preparing for All African Youth Championships set for Rwanda in September.
The president himself is known to be a cricket lover. But his son Robert Junior has his own preferred sport – basketball.
But, Mugabe Jr’s involvement with the team could be the biggest undoing.
His mother, Grace, is anxious that her son keeps out of the public spotlight.
Because security around members of the first family is incredibly tight, Robert Junior cannot attend all training sessions.
Special training arrangements have been made by the technical team.
“It is true Robert has made it into the last final 15 member team. He is there not because of his father but (because) he’s a good player, by Zimbabwean standards… and he’s tall,” said a technical team member.
Reports indicating that Mugabe Jr’s acceptance into the team could have been strategic for financial reasons was confirmed by the technical team member who says that Mugabe Jr’s presence marks the end of the basketball team’s financial woes.
“This is a blessing to us, just when Robert made it into the team, financial sponsorship started rolling in, it could be a coincidence but we are not worried” said the technical team member.
Last week, Robert Mugabe Jr. traveled with his team mates 300 kilometers out of the capital, Harare, for training camps in Gweru, where the Under 18 basketball team is preparing for Zone Six qualifiers for the All African Youth Championships set for Rwanda in September.