PE, Girls High triumph

HARARE - Prince Edward (PE) and Girls High School (GHS) were crowned champions of the annual PE Basketball Tournament on Saturday in a competition marred by technical glitches and organisational faults.

Nothing can be taken away from the Alvin Jariremombe-captained side, who brought their A-game to the 24-team tournament, before outclassing Falcon College 18-11 in a final that was cut short due to bad light.

Earlier, defending champion GHS were given the win in the girls’ category despite only playing in the group stages.

GHS basketball team coach Clement Kufeketa was not amused as his side, who were rearing to go, slowly slipped back into their tracksuits and headed back home.

“It’s unfortunate that we failed to play our semi-final because of the technical faults. We really wanted to go all the way and defend our title,” Kufeketa said.

“We were waiting to play either Goromonzi High School, Cornway College or Dominican Convent from Bulawayo only to be told that the tournament organisers could not locate two of the three teams. We were ready to play anyone.”

Besides the girls’ fiasco, there was also drama in the boys’ contest which started off with Churchill failing to pitch up for the tournament.

Churchill had been pooled in Group A along with Marlborough, Royal College and arch rivals PE.

All the spectators had been hoping for a blockbuster meeting between the Bulldogs and the PE Panthers but it did not materialise.

The Churchill basketball players showed up at the venue without a coach amid claims that the school’s headmaster had refused to sanction the team’s participation in the tournament.

This, it is alleged, was because PE had snubbed a reverse rugby fixture that had been scheduled for Churchill earlier this year.

The drama left neutrals perplexed as traditional schoolboy sports rivalry was being sacrificed due to petty differences between the two institutions.

Turning back to the contest, PE ran riot over Marlborough and Royal in the group stages while the other finalists Falcon College claimed the scalps of Murehwa, Watershed and St John’s High.

Trouble emerged when the tournament ran into the evening, as was expected, when it was discovered that only half of the lights of the PE indoor court were operational.

It forced organisers to move the final onto the outside basketball courts which only provided relief for a moment before darkness set in.

In the end, officials cut short the contest to avoid player injuries.

Falcon College basketball coach Rodwell Khumalo said the tournament’s preparation left a lot to be desired.

“I’m not sure if fluorescent lights cost much, I don’t think they cost more than a dollar,” Khumalo said.

“But we accept the way things have gone. Overall I am happy that the tournament was a good examination of where we stand as we don’t normally get a chance to play against the teams we played against here.”

Despite all the hiccups and complaints from the teams, tournament director Sledge Chinyoka saw the positives.

“The tournament provided a platform for players to showcase the talent. An all-star team was selected and will travel to Germany in April 2017.

“Those who are going to excel in Germany will be offered scholarships,” Chinyoka said.

“On the tournament rules; we did not state what happens in the event of a three-way tie in the group stages; whether you consider head-to-head or goal difference.

“The argument delayed the programme hence with bad light we could not proceed. However, all other teams lost at least one game with the exception of GHS. Thus we declared GHS the winner.”

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