Story by Mthokozisi Dube
THE Zimbabwe senior men’s basketball team will have to rise to the occasion to snatch a ticket to the Rwanda finals as Mozambique stands in their way.
Lady luck did not smile on the Zimbabwean basketball men’s and women’s teams, which suffered defeats in their last group stage matches in the Afrocan qualifiers in Bulawayo at the weekend.
First to lose were the ladies who suffered a 67-47 defeat to set a date with the Zambians in a third and fourth playoff set for Tuesday.
Having started off well in the first three quarters, Zimbabwean men allowed complacency to cripple in, resulting in the team losing 66-53 to Mozambique.
Zimbabwe basketball skipper, Vitalis Chikoko believes a day’s rest will allow them to rediscover their form as they aim to join basketball powerhouses in Rwanda.
“I think we played well. You know it happens a lot in these tournaments, where you have more games and people get tired and fatigued. I believe that is what happened to us. We played well in the first three quarters and in the fourth quarter you could tell people were tired. We need to adjust to our differences. They killed us a lot on that in the fourth quarter. We also need to improve on our shoots,” he said.
Zimbabwean Basketball player, Tatenda Maturure said, “I think we have to push harder. It was a challenging game from the last one we played against them. For this one, we started slowly. So going up was a struggle. Now that we face them this Tuesday. I am sure we will adjust and play well.”
The curtain will come down on the Zone VI basketball Afrocan qualifiers this Tuesday with Zimbabwe men facing Mozambique, while the ladies will battle it out with Zambia in third and fourth place playoffs.