By Trevor Makonyonga
The Zimbabwe Basketball team over the weekend suffered terrible defeats leading to them being knocked out of the Afrobasket 2021qualifiers.
Zimbabwe lost to Madagascar 62-69 before losing to Zambia 55-78 and casting their Afrobasket dreams in a deep.
Challenges shown included the failure to rotate players as some were benched for too long.
Tatenda Maturure played several 30 minute games while Munashe Makumbe and Wishes Kakomo barely got a run.
The other question worth to be asked is whether the team that was put together really represented the talent in the country’s leagues. With the way it looked, it would seem that the team was a Harare select side. One might argue that the players in other provinces who are good enough end up in the Harare Basketball League but in all fairness the team has to be picked from different provinces.
Another thing that could have played up against Zimbabwe is the camping and the time put towards that. Time is the biggest resource that makes teams become compact. The reason why some countries play friendlies or go for team bonding for lengthy spells is to try and bring understanding with the team. Head Coach, Adson Chiware, told this publication previously that he only had had a week to prepare which is way too little a time to assemble a national team.
This is probably why he stuck to the players he felt he could trust regardless of their lack of form. Fans would boo players like Agrippa Masvisvi and Taurai Chitsinde in some instances because they were not doing quite well.
It is also unfortunate that sport does not pay in this part of the World. Structures would have been put up for the development of talent and the pool for selection could have been wider. Unfortunately, Basketball is less of a professional sport in the country but more of a hobby. The way the Afrobasket Preliminaries were run shows the Zimbabwe attitude towards the sport. No press conferences before or after matches, match start times being shifted without notice and generally poor showcasing of the game.
Coaches have to be selected on merit and not anything else. Zimbabwe could improve and there is potential but the selection criteria has to change. The team will have to be selected well to achieve greatness. Structures are important if basketball is to develop in the country.
Meanwhile, Madagascar qualified to play the qualifiers and Zimbabwe came second.
A wild card pick is now impossible as Zimbabwe got hammered by Madagascar on the opening day and by Zambia on the last day.