A crippling power struggle that had split the Harare Basketball Association (HBA) into two rival factions and thrown the capital’s basketball league into disarray for the past year-and- a-half came to an end after the two factions finally buried the hatchet.
Since 2009, boardroom wrangles had retarded the progress of the Harare Basketball League with Gilchrist Magezah leading one faction while Rodrick Takawira led the other.
However, leaders from the two factions met this weekend and reached an agreement to merge the two leagues into one ahead of the new season which gets underway on October 1.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport the HBA League Press and publicity officer Carlos Munda said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce to you all that the Harare Basketball Association and the Metropolitan Basketball League have merged into one league that will be known as the Harare Basketball Association.
“We hope this will be a major step towards taking basketball to where it belongs as the boardroom squabbles have been negatively impacting on our ability to attract sponsorship. We hope that as we have now sorted out our issues, the corporate world will restore their confidence in us.”
Magezah will assume the post of president with Charmaine Chamboko as the secretary-general.
Forbes Chiva will be competitions director while Andrew Chitauro will fill in the post of technical director.
Meanwhile, the basketball community has hailed the HBA’s decision to end conflict that had resulted in the split.
An air of excitement has gripped Harare basketball circles following the merger of two warring factions whose differences were threatening to derail the sport.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe Athletes Commission chairman Shingai Magede and Varsity Leopards coach Spencer Nyamadzawo expressed pleasure at the development, saying it would help assist in the growth of basketball in the country.
As a result of the merger, the Harare Basketball League will now have a total of sixteen teams in both the men and women’s divisions.
The teams which will join the men’s league include Cheetahs, Cameo, UZ Stars and Black Rhinos, while Drifters, Harare Polytechnic, Harare Prisons, Air Force Falcons and Sigauke will join the men’s B league.
Cameo, Hellas, UZ Stars and Harare Polytechnic will join the women’s league.