Midlands teams were left with an egg on their faces in the just ended 2018 Basketball Union of Zimbabwe National Championship held in Gweru after all of their teams were eliminated in the group stages.
By Delicious Mathuthu
Marking the end of the 2017/18 basketball season, more than 36 women and men’s teams from across the nation assembled in the Midlands Capital, Gweru, to battle it out in the final showdown of the season at MSU.
The tournament held at the Midlands State University saw 20 men’s teams and 16 women’s taking part with Harare Basketball Association men’s Champions, Foxes, being crowned the new National Champions for the 2017/18 season after beating Raiders 80-66 in the finals.
In the Women’s category Vixens were crowned the new National Basketball Championship Queens after beating Lakers by a point in the finals which ended 43-44 in favor of Vixens.
Midlands Basketball Association’s (MidBA) five teams in the men’s competition failed to make it past the group stages with hosts MSU Hawks who performed better of the five, only salvaging two victories against Highlanders and fellow Midlanders, Steelers.
MidBA champions Steelers and Unicorns won one game each while Falcons were awarded a technical win, their only victory, after their opponents Hornets came late for the game. Warriors lost all their games.
In the women’s competition MSU lost all their three games while Unicorns got one victory against Hustlers in their three outings.
MidBA Secretary General Mathew Tumbare was disappointed by the Midlands League teams’ performance saying it is ‘regrettable’ and the Association needs to go back to the drawing board to map a way forward.
“It’s regrettable that all Midlands teams failed to go past the group stage with Warriors who got into the tourney on a wildcard failing to win even a single game. They played Dangamvura Knights, Mercenaries of Mutare, Hustlers and Cameo of Harare.
“Falcons got a technical win over defending champions, Harare City Hornets. The Hornets were late for the game and had to forfeit the game before losing to Giants of Bulawayo, JBC, and Cheetahs of Harare,” Tumbare said.
He went on to say Unicorns also managed one victory against Chivara Panthers of Masvingo and lost three games against Varsity Leopards and Raiders of Harare as well as Southern Mavericks from Bulawayo.
Midlands Champions Steelers also won one game against Highlanders of Bulawayo but lost to Harare Champions Foxes, Arcadia Bucs and MSU Hawks.
Tumbare said the disappointing display by MidBA teams leaves a big challenge to the Association to look into ways of having stronger teams and developmental programs, however saying on a positive note they have been exposed and have awakened to up their games.
“I believe Midlands teams have learnt a lot from these games, now we must train harder to up our level of play and be more competitive. We have seen how tough it is in other leagues so we will need to work on that and build stronger teams,” Tumbare said.
In the men’s category Foxes scooped gold on first position followed by Raiders on silver and Mercenaries on third while Vixens were the champions in the ladies category followed by Lakers on second and Southern Mavericks on bronze.
For the Midlands sides, MSU Hawks were placed 11th, Steelers 13th, Unicorns 14th, Falcons 16th and Warriors were 18th from the 20 competing teams while for the ladies Unicorns were 12th and MSU Hawks were 15th from the 16 teams.
Cameo of HarareChivara PanthersDangamvura KnightsHustlersMSU HawksSteelers