Basketball Union of Zimbabwe president Joe Mujuru has stirred a hornets nest after declaring that basketball is bigger than cricket and is the most followed sport in the country after football.
Cricket has been drawing large crowds at national team matches at Harare Sports Club in Harare and Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo leaving some to argue that the gentleman’s game has grown to overtake football as the number one sport in the country.
But Mujuru reckons that basketball is bigger than cricket in the country as evidenced by the large crowds that are drawn at club level matches.
“Without sounding arrogant or stirring a hornets nest, basketball is probably bigger than cricket,” Mujuru said.
“Zimbabwe has over 200 clubs participating at national level. I’m not showing off but we are big. The numbers that you see at club basketball matches is just a testimony of how big we are. Club basketball draws large crowds and even when we have the national team playing we have huge numbers coming in to support.”
Mujuru said as the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe they are going to have constitutional amendments to push the 3X3 version of basketball which is gaining momentum across the world.
“3X3 is an Olympic sport now and this could be our fastest way to Olympics or the World Cup. This version is more suited for us here in Southern Africa because of our stature. We are going to have somebody within the executive to look into the development of the 3X3 version.”
Godfrey ‘Godfather’ Chakurangei who is spearheading the growth of the 3X3 version of basketball has formulated a 34 team league which is running every Saturday night at Gweru Sports Club until the end of August with teams from all over the country participating.
“We have teams from across Zimbabwe, from Harare, Bulawayo, Zvishavane and other parts of the country. We started on 15 July 2023 and we are going to complete the league at the end of August,” Chakurangei said.
“Next year we are going to have a bigger and better league. I would like to thank our sponsors Mohagany Sound for their unwavering support. With them, we will keep going.”
Zimbabwe national team captain Vitalis Chikoko endorsed the 3X3 basketball saying version is going to give a platform to many players to grow their careers.
“A couple of my teammates in France play that tournament and I would like to see it develop here in Zimbabwe so that our youngsters here get such an opportunity,” Chikoko said.
“Right now I’m the only professional player from Zimbabwe playing in Europe so we need to support such initiatives like the 3X3 which gives a platform for the young players to be seen. I’m one lucky guy who got an opportunity to be seen and went on to turn professional so I want to do the same and support the youths.”
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