By Trevor Makonyonga
A pathetic display by the Zimbabwe National basketball team saw them lose at home by an embarrassing 17 points to Madagascar in an Afrobasket preliminary match held at the City Sports Centre in Harare yesterday evening.
The Zimbabwe team started strongly in the first quarter where they posted a big 19-6 margin. However, after a horror rotation by coach Adson Chiware which saw a visibly dominant Taurai Chitsinde and the defensive Nathan Warikandwa pulled off, Madagascar managed to chase back till the score was at 22-19 to the visitors by the end of the second quarter.
The team lacked a tactical approach and it seemed the coach just wanted every body to feel the ball at the expense of tactic.
Defensively Zimbabwe failed to deal with jumpers by the Malagasy shooting guard, Elly Rampiomanona.
Damage was inflicted to Zimbabwe by guard Rija Lahontan who had 23 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
His field goal shooting percentage stood at a massive 75% mark.
Rija’s impact was seriously felt when Warikandwa left the court as he began to attack the paint more leaving most of his opponents for dead with his deft skills.
For Zimbabwe, Everisto Pasipamire stood out as he posted a double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Taurai Chitsinde narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Offensively, Zimbabwe posted a huge number of turnovers which amounted to 21 in total. Everisto Pasipamire alone had 7 turnovers.
Defensively, the Zimbabwe team failed to restrict opponents from attacking the paint willy nilly and also they did not offer meaningful challenges on longshots.
Another thing that lacked was the ability to shoot from range. This could be the reason why the game was so shallow and had very low scores.
It is tactical awareness that short changed Zimbabwe the most. Madagascar has relatively smaller players than Zimbabwe and with that deficit, Zimbabwe should have played according to strength like they did in the first quarter.
Players who were brought in from the bench failed to compliment the starters’ effort and the coach seemed not to notice.
With yesterday’s performance, and probably the match against Mozambique too, Adson Chiware’s tactical abilities and coaching skills will be questionable.
Going forward, the team has no time to sulk or cry foul. They have to make up for the loss as on Thursday 23 January they will play against Zambia.
Meanwhile, games continue today, Tuesday 22 January, with Zambia and Madagascar squaring off.
Zimbabwe Starters: Taurai Chitsinde, Tawanda Chitsinde, Tatenda Tswatswa, Munashe Makunde, Benson Nyatanga.
Madagascar Starters: Livio Ratianarivo, Monjah Faralahy, Valerie Rotohu, Elly Rampiomanona, Rija Lahontan.