ESWATINI-based former Zimbabwe national basketball team assistant coach Naboth Phebeni has paid tribute to the country’s players that turned out for several sides in this year’s Eswatini Invitational International Tournament held at Mavuso Exhibition Centre and University of Swaziland (Eswatini) Sports Emporium at the weekend.
This year’s winners are Green Stars from Harare Girls High and South African men’s team Phoenix Flames, home to national team players Neville Chivhanganye, Tatenda Maturure and the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Allen Danga.
In an interview yesterday, Phebeni, a multiple medals winning coach with Loreto High School and the Midlands Youth Games basketball team before relocating to Eswatini’s Waterford College 10 years ago, said the game’s development process was still intact as evidenced by the dominance at regional tournaments.
“It is always good to have either our Zimbabwe teams or players dominating at such tournaments year in year out and this year’s edition of the Eswatini Invitational International Basketball Tournament was no exception. Zimbabwe featured on the winners’ podium in different ways after marvellous shows,” said Phebeni.
“That the tournament was won by Green Stars, a team from Zimbabwe, in the ladies category and that the men’s champions Phoenix Flames from South Africa had at least three Zimbabwe national team players speak volumes of the calibre of the country’s basketball development.”
Green Stars lifted the ladies title after narrowly brushing aside Malawi’s Brave Hearts 83-77 at the Mavuso Exhibition Centre on Sunday.
The two teams had met in their opening match, with the Zimbabwean ladies posting an edgy 44-41 victory on Friday.
The Zimbabwe side lost once to Pizzaria Jamal from Mozambique, who pipped them 50-48.
Green Stars went on to beat USSA Eastern Cape 75-26 to progress to the final, while Brave Hearts beat Pizzaria Jamal 51-43. – Chronicle