(by Thomas Fink)
FIVE teams have rejoined the Harare Basketball League, ending a six-month stalemate between the leagues two warring factions. It would appear the prospect of playing international basketball and a rumoured ban on the rebel faction by the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe was the push the five teams Cavaliers, Varsity Leopards, Real Returners, Lakers and Richwood needed to jump ship.
HBA chairman Gilchrist Mageza confirmed the move, highlighting that the return of the teams was a welcome development for basketball. I can now safely confirm that five teams have taken our offer for reunification, he said. Contrary to our previous stipulations the teams have not been asked to pay any penalty fees but have merely been asked to adhere to the rules of the league and simply register.
Despite maintaining an open-door policy, it is highly unlikely that other teams who will come after these five will get the same treatment. The decision on how to handle teams that will rejoin us is now in the hands of congress and we will be guided by its ruling. However, I must say that as HBA we stand ready to welcome any of the so- called rebel teams. The return of Cavaliers, Varsity Leopards, Real Returners, Lakers and Richwood has seen seven new posts being created to accommodate their representatives on the HBA board.
Varsity Leopards Hamilton Mudawarima will now act as women and youth president, while the likes of Abby Govere, Martin Mukwava, Samuel Mutsanga, Charmaine Chamboko, Eric Banda and Philemon Mamvura will act as committee members. Mageza will remain at the helm of the new leadership with Godfrey Chakurangeyi (secretary-general); Tendai Zhakata (competitions commissioner), Tendai Nyagumbo (technical commissioner) and Stewart Charamba (committee member) completing the executive.
Only Beauty Masenda, who resigned from her post in women and youth, has been replaced. The raging HBA dispute erupted in early 2009 when the then outgoing executive led by Roderick Takawira conducted elections, which the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe refused to recognise. BUZ maintained that the HBA executive was supposed to hold the elections only after they had redrafted their constitution to align it with the basketball governing bodys constitution.
BUZ redrafted their constitution and registered it with the Sport and Recreation Commission later that year and all the provinces were supposed to have their constitutions aligned to the mother bodys document. However, the Takawira-led executive ignored the directive and went ahead to hold elections that retained the status quo. Unfazed, BUZ held separate elections that gave birth to the committee led by Mageza.