Bulawayo – Zimbabwe made amends after their shocking loss against Zambia earlier this week in the AfroCan Qualifiers in Bulawayo.
The hosts of the AfroCan Zone 6 Qualifiers kicked off the return leg with an easy victory over Zambian 71-53. They patiently waited for the third quarter to distance from their opponent and go home with the crucial win.
In what was seen as a do-or-die game, all the Zimbabwe stepped up and made strong statements about their intentions in this game. So much so that four local players finished the game with double digits, with Vitalis Chikoko claiming a double-double.
The 2.10m (6’11) power forward played a vital part in his side’s victory as he homed in 11 points and 13 rebounds, while delivering 2 assists and stole 1 ball. He had 20 Efficiency rate.
On the other hand, Tatenda Tswatswa was the game’s top scorer with 17 points. He scored two from behind the arc, while netting 5 out of the 6 free throws that were awarded to him.
Dyvonne Pfachi and Noah Penduka respectively claimed 14 and 12 points, while Panashe Kaduya was active at both ends of the court, grabbing a total of 14 rebounds.
The game in itself had nothing to do with the previous one between the two countries. This time, Zimbabwe got in the lead as early as in the first quarter and never left it.
They first led by 5 points ((16-11), before moving to 11 points at the end of the second quarter (16-12, 32-23).
But the third quarter was the turning point of the game. Zimbabwe shook out their opponent in a 23-13 run, thus cancelling their dreams of victory. They marched into the final stretch with an 11-point advantage.
Similarly, throughout the game, Zimbabwe capitalized on second chance points, scoring 18 points in this respect.
And though Zambia claimed this quarter by one point (17-16), Zimbabwe had already made the break and was out of reach.
Douglas Kandula was the man of the moment for Zambia as he too added a double-double to his name with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Chipo Musongo also contributed 12 points and 4 rebounds. But the combined efforts availed to nothing much as Zambia watched their rival walk by.
Today’s game will see Zambia take on Mozambique at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. Mozambique ought to be weary of this opponent, one capable of upsetting the hierarchy on a any given day.