Rising basketball star heads for US then Angola

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He is more than two metres tall and still a schoolboy.

Though his height is a major attraction, it was his basketball talent that got him noticed by foreign scouts.

Vitalis Chikoko, 18, an Upper Six student from Prince Edward High School in Harare has attracted the interest of basketball scouts from Angola.

Chikoko, who plays for DZ Raiders, excelled in a recent regional tournament at City Sports Centre.

In one of his better performances, the lanky centre-power forward scored 22 points against Zambia’s Lusaka Looters. He made his 2,1m frame do the talking.

In another game, Chikoko frustrated 29 year old Angolan veteran Joaquim Gomez (2.03m) who had to sit out in the third and forth quarter.

Gomez is a star in his own right as he played in the United States, Germany and Netherlands but his massive experience counted for little against Chikoko.

“I marked Gomez out of the game and I feel that was the game that made the guys appreciate my style of play,” said Chikoko.

Since then, four international clubs have shown interest in signing Chikoko but two are very serious.

“Two Angolan clubs Petro and Azar are very serious in signing the boy and we have asked them to formalise the process,” said Chikoko’s coach at Raiders Ngoni Mukukula.

The Angolans have already sent their representatives to speak to Raiders and Chikoko’s father, Anthony Chikoko, about signing the talented Prince Edward player.

This week Headmaster Kevin Atkinson was visibly ecstatic with Chikoko’s achievements.

“His talent is enormous and I believe all will be well since he is just good on the floor,” said Atkinson.

He said Chikoko had already won many accolades including the 2009 Most Valuable Player, 2008.

Chikoko captained the national under 18 basketball team last year during the FIBA world cup qualifiers held at the City Sports Centre.

“I started playing in grade seven at Glen View 1 Primary School and won a scholarship to go Churchill then Prince Edward,” said Chikoko the last born. He has a brother and sister.

Nicknamed “Alefu” because of his height, Chikoko, wears size 13 shoes imported from South Africa.

Chikoko has already agreed to join the Angolan champions on a scholarship that will see him travel to the US in a few weeks. The US trip will include training and orientation.

The player’s father Chikoko said: “He’s only 18 and promising so I won’t stop him from achieving his goals because basketball is his talent”.