By RONALD CHAWE –
BADMINTON Zambia (BZ) has set January 12 next year as dates for the delayed 2018 national championship play-offs to be held at Kanini Sports Complex in Ndola.
At the title deciding play-offs, eight teams will fight for honours in both the men and women categories with the Northern zone sending four teams and the other half coming from the Southern region.
BZ Deputy General Secretary Juma Muwowo also added that the tournament would have four men and another four women teams taking part.
The breakdown of participating teams would see Central Sports Club of Lusaka and Ndola City Council each field two teams split between a men and women team.
Then the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) would each field a men team while Nkwazi and Mufulira would bring a women team each.
Central Sports Club is the men and champion while Nkwazi won the women title from Midlands region with CEC and Ndola City Council emerging winners of the Copperbelt league.
Muwowo said play-offs would also act as the preparation for the 2019 major international events.
Zambia is expected to compete at the 2019 All African mixed team championship as well as the All-African Individual championship to run consecutively on April 22-25 and 26-28 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
“We have important events coming up and I hope our players will remain competitive and bring honours to the country. The year will demand consistency and hard work and I am sure the players will do what they have done at major events this year,” he said.
Muwowo, who is also national badminton coach, said his wish was to see Zambian players qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“I am proud of the players’ progress on international tournaments. We need a plan which tournament will require adequate resources so that players should be among the front runners for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying campaign,” he said.
The qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that carry more qualifying points commence on April 29, 2019 and end on April 26, 2020.