SIXTY teams will today kick off their quest to win the 2016 Netball Association of Zambia (NAZ) Open Season Championship at Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
NAZ general secretary Pritchard Ngoma in an interview said the 60 teams have been drawn from all the provinces of Zambia.
Ngoma said the association was happy with the response from the teams in far flung areas as the tournament will provide a platform for talent identification.
“About 60 teams are expected to compete in the two day NAZ open championship at OYDC. We expect a tough competition from all the teams. There has been tremendous improvement from the teams outside Lusaka and we may see the Midlands teams not dominating,” he said.
He said the technical bench will use the tournament to select a provisional national team for the U-21 African Youth Netball World Cup qualifiers in Botswana from July 23 to 30.
“We have a number of international engagements and this will be an opportunity for the technical bench to spread their net wider. The association believes there is massive talent outside Lusaka and Copperbelt. A formidable team should be assembled if Zambia has to qualify for the lined up international engagements,” he said.
Ngoma said the association is working around the clock to raise money to send the team to represent Zambia in Botswana.
“The U-21 provisional team that will be picked should begin preparations early. We are working hard to find resources for the planned training programme. Our target is to qualify the team to the World Cup,” he said.
The U-21 World Cup tournament will be held next year in Botswana July 8 to 16.