False start to Mat North basketball
Nkosilathi Sibanda, [email protected]
WHEN everyone expected normalcy had finally returned in Matabeleland North basketball, it wasn’t to be last weekend, as only one match was played at the weekend.
In the season opening fixture that was scheduled for November 18, four matches were to be played but, surprisingly, Madumabisa Titans and Royal Eagles fulfilled theirs, with the rest of the teams having stayed away, without giving a reason.
This dealt a sad blow to the organisers who were optimistic that the sport was taking shape with five clubs committing to the new league.
Playing under the Matabeleland North Basketball Association, the five men’s teams that registered for competitive action are Victoria Falls Panthers, Victoria Falls Suns, Black Hornets, Madumabisa Titans and Royal Eagles.
The season is expected to end on January 27 next year, according to the fixtures schedule sent to Zimpapers Sports Hub.
Seasoned basketball administrator Penrick Ndlovu said they were saddened by that teams chose to boycott the opening matches of the season and did not bother to give excuses.
“It was agreed by the teams that there must be a well-run league that will bring in the much needed competition. Sadly, or unfortunately, only one game was played. It was Madumabisa Titans and Royal Eagles who showed commitment as the rest of the teams chose to remain mum,” said Ndlovu who has been in the forefront of the Matabeleland North basketball league launch.
The new league that sets to rebrand basketball in Matabeleland North, had scheduled that venues for all the matches be held in Victoria Falls and Hwange town, as they are the only places with better basketball infrastructure in the province.
Venues identified were Hwange Training Centre and the Victoria Fall Club.
The resumption of the league came as good news to players in the province who for years did not have action. The only time that basketball was active was when teams took part in friendly encounters dubbed “The Colourful Weekends” tournaments.
However, these were not that impactful. The tournaments served as platforms to measure players’ fitness and also keep them off the streets.
Ndlovu said although there was a false start to the season, they still had the confidence that in the next two months, Matabeleland North Basketball Association will have an eventful programme.
“There is excitement in basketball circles in Matabeleland North as we are set to kick start a fast paced season. This is good news to us because finally we are going to conduct competitive games. We have longed for this.
“Hopefully by January 27 in the coming year we would have finished the season. In between the league, there will be tournaments,” said Ndlovu.
Week One outstanding fixtures:
Black Hornets v Victoria Falls Suns, Victoria Falls Panthers v Black Hornets, Victoria Falls Suns v Royal Eagles