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HBL hopes for better year

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By Paul Vutete

After enduring a tough year in 2021, mainly roughed up by the effects of COVID-19, the Harare Basketball League is looking forward to better prospects this year.

The league, which started in November, is set to resume on January 14 after a festive season break for both the men and female categories.

Harare City Hornets coach Andrew Chitauro bemoaned the collapse of some teams, which could not navigate the COVID-19 challenges and had to disband.

“The Harare Basketball League started off on a slow note after two years of stoppage. There were some teams that disbanded during the COVID-19 period and did not return. Season started off in November instead of the usual September, so the teams that have played most games have only played three games” he said.

Chitauro added that the quality of play had lowered, but was optimistic for an improvement, with more matches coming up.

“Quality of play has not been to the expected standard as people are coming from a long layoff, but it’s most likely to pick up as the leagues will be cut this year for both genders to create a top six league in order to improve competition in the league for the 2022-23 seasons. So teams will have to work hard in order for them to make the top six.”

University of Zimbabwe Sparks coach Tongai Munaku was pleased to see his team make a good start having benefitted from the early opening of the university.

“The University of Zimbabwe opened early and it gave us ample time to practise during our regular college semester, so we managed to even giants like Raiders and JBC,” he said.

Munaku, however, said the year 2021 went to waste.

“The year 2021 has been rather a wasted year because for starters, we started our league late mid-November instead of September and we had to break for COVID-19 reasons. We did not play as many games as we anticipated.”

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