HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review: Mbare Bulls charge on; Blades dominate Fillies


Gameweek 17 at the Sunrise Sports Club in Belvedere came with the usual gango of outcomes we've come to love about the HBA Super Six League.

There was the high-scoring game, the upset, the superstar performances, and of course — Sparks just can't be beaten. 

Despite the exciting basketball as usual, Gameweek 17 ended on a sombre note, which led to the postponement of the final game of the day — between leaders JBC and fifth-placed Leopards. 

After the abrupt ending to Gameweek 17, the standings remained unchanged in the Men's division.

In the Women's Division; Blades and Bunnies switched positions for the second week in a row. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Sharpening — Blades coach Andrew Chitauro instructing his charges during Gameweek 17 [Image: Lost Essence Studio]

Gameweek 17 Review: Men's 

Bucs keep the chase 

In the first game of the Men's division, Acardia Bucs took their fifth win in a row by way of a 69-55 triumph over bottom-placed UZ Stars. 

The win leaves them firmly in second, just two points behind leaders JBC (although JBC has a game in hand). 

The game started off slow, and there wasn't much to set the teams apart. Only two points separated the teams at the break.

Stars even stole the lead in the beginning of the third quarter, but Bucs led a spirited recovery in the final quarter to end the game as the victors.

Ex-JBC Power Forward Panashe Kaduya seems to be enjoying his time at Bucs, as he turned on the heat in Gameweek 17 to deliver a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds.

Speaking to ZimSphere Sports after the game, Bucs coach Viv 'Iron Lady' Manuel heaped praises on Kaduya for his contribution to Bucs, saying; 

"Panashe (Kaduya) has been Godsent, such a good addition to our family. We are pleased with his work ethic, and hope he continues to give us his best."

Not to be outdone, Dumisani Moyo also posted his own double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds . Taurai Kazembe finished the day with 12 points and 5 rebounds. 

There was also a double-double on the Stars bench, courtesy of Samusonza who scored 10 points and took 12 rebounds. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Relentless — UZ Stars' Tamuka 'Spida' Chikanya

It wouldn't be a Stars game without Small Forward Tamuka 'Spida' Chikanya playing his part for his beloved team. The 22 year old ended the day with an impressive 16-8-2. 

American flair reignites Bulls

For the second-from-last team on the standings, Mbare Bulls have become almost unrecognizable. This has been partly due to the addition of two American players on their roster — Zion Fortune and Aaron Watley. 

In Gameweek 17, they defeated Basket Hounds 62-59 to take their second win in a row. 

Mbare Bulls had their feet on Hounds' necks for most of the game. They lost some steam in the final quarter but they had already done enough to take the win. 

It was the towering American Zion Fortune who did most of the work that made it possible. The 24 year old posted 21 points and took 7 rebounds in just 14 minutes, truly showing just how fast-paced American basketball is. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Towering above — Mbare Bulls' Zion Fortune, standing at 6'4

Before jetting in to play for Mbare Bulls, Fortune was playing in the minor league in the USA called the UBA (Unified Basketball Alliance). 

Now playing in Zimbabwe's most elite basketball league, he had this to say about the HBA Super Six League;

"The competition in the League is better than I thought, there’s a lot of physicality in the game and I like that."

He first featured for Bulls in Gameweek 16 — a much-needed win over log leaders JBC. In his second game, he had picked up a few lessons and did justice to the faith that the Bulls admin have put in him and his counterpart Wheatley. 

"In the first game, I knew I put the work in, I believed in myself. So for the second game, I had to come out and be aggressive," explained Fortune. 

Barely a fortnight in, Fortune is already enjoying his time at Bulls and in Zimbabwe, as he beamed;

"It’s been an experience! I get along with my teammates, coaches, admins very well. They have made me feel welcome on the team."

As for next season, Fortune expressed desire to continue playing for Bulls, if destiny allows so.

"All I can say is it is God's plan, I trust in the Lord. If He says to come back next season, I will do just that," he concluded. 

Dyvonne Pfachi and Warren Tegama's brilliant season with Bulls continues, as they both made valuable contributions to the win. 

Warren Tegama delivered 12 points and 3 rebounds while Dyvonne Pfachi went home with 10 points and 5 rebounds. 

For Hounds, the silver lining in the cloud was the return of their starman Innocent Zhomwa, who made a powerful return from injury — playing 37 minutes and scoring 19 points. 

Manyeza finished the day with 15 points and 7 rebounds, while Rolland Changara scored 13 points. 

JBC vs Leopards fixture postponed 

As players and fans alike were preparing for the final game of the day between log leaders JBC and fouth-placed Leopards, news came in of the passing on of Leopards' Shooting Guard Simbarashe Chitsungwe's father. 

In a show of compassion by the Harare Basketball Association leadership, the game was cancelled to allow Chitsungwe to be with his family. 

In the spirit of sportsmanship, log leaders JBC agreed to postpone the match to a later date. 

The fixture is now scheduled to be played on Wednesday 27 March. 


The two games played in the Men's division on Gameweek 17 did nothing but just consolidate positions. It must be said though, the standings are shaping up for a thrilling end to the season. 

JBC remain on top with 30 points and a game in hand. They are followed closely by Arcadia Bucs who have 28 points. On third is Basket Hounds with 26 points, three ahead of fourth placed Leopards Academy (23 points), who also have a game in hand. Mbare Bulls are now just 1 point off fourth with 22 points, and three ahead of bottom placed UZ Stars (19 points). 

Gameweek 18 Review: Women's

Blades master a bloodbath on the court

After losing to Sparks and going down to fourth in Gameweek 16, Blades bounced back in a major way in the first game of the day versus fifth-placed Fillies. 

They won by a staggering 70 points versus Fillies, finishing the game at 97-27; three shy of a ton. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Left in the dust — Blades' Aunt Gavaza (in white) charges towards the basket while a Fillies player looks on 

Whilst the baskets were raining, Blades' defense was also superb. They restricted Fillies to under-10 points in all the four quarters. 

Of course, Thelma 'Captain Fantastic' Goredema showed her starpower, scoring 25 points.

Chido Willie and Verna Malikabu were matched at 19 points, while Aunt Gavaza had 13 points.  

Speaking to ZimSphere Sports after the game, Blades coach Andrew Chitauro was ecstatic to see his game plan work on the court versus Fillies, saying; 

"We've been trying to work on our scoring since we have been winning and losing narrowly. In Gameweek 16, we were playing zone, which is more of a 'park the bus' approach. Today we were employing full court pressing formations that allowed us to win the ball early in their half."

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Blades coach Andrew Chitauro (left) speaking with ZimSphere Sports after their win over Fillies

Of course Captain Fantastic was going to top the points tally, but Chitauro's outstanding player for Gameweek 17 was Blades' Center Chido Willie, who shined in defense. 

"For me, Chido Willie was the woman of the match. She didn't score the most, but she was the one anchoring the defense and the press. She stole a lot of balls and threw them upfront for others to score. 

"Chido played a pivotal role in our defense and that's why Fillies couldn't cross into our half." he beamed. 

Having recovered from a slump that slimmed their chances of qualifying for the BUZ National League, Chitauro outlined National League qualification as their major objective for the remainder of the season.

"We joined the Super Six late, and we knew we weren't gonna win the league because of that. It's not about the League anymore, it's about the National League now. 

"We have to shorten the distance between us and the leading teams so that we qualify for the National League; that's our focus" he concluded.  

Sparks make light of Hornets 

Whilst everyone was expecting yet another 'baskets galore', log leaders Sparks looked to be tinkering with their strategy versus bottom-of-the-table Harare City Hornets.

The game finished 46-22 in favour of the log leaders. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Hustle — Three Sparks players pursue Hornets' captain Trish Muringazuva on her charge to the basket

We caught up with Sparks coach Tongai Munaku after the game, and he was happy to go home with the victory, saying;

"I'm ecstatic about the victory, the girls managed to execute some of the tactics we were working on, which is always a thrill from a coaching perspective." 

As for the tactics, Munaku revealed that the log leaders are now more focused on sharpening their swords as we reach the tail end of the season.

"We are a diverse team, so we use different tactics to sharpen our skills. What we worked on during the week, it was executed in the game and I'm hoping that we maintain in this trajectory," he said. 

On the scoresheet, Stella Chikowore scored 13 points for Sparks, the highest tally of the day. 

Special mention goes to Hornets captain Trish Muringazuva, whose passion and tenacity on the court makes her a wonder to watch. 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Hornets coaching staff giving instructions to players during a timeout

She contributed half of the points tally for Hornets and played 29 minutes. Her final statline for Gameweek 17 is 11 points 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

Ups and downs 

After winning and taking third position in Gameweek 16, Bunnies were quickly brought down to earth by second-placed Vixens in Gameweek 17. 

Bunnies actually started on the stronger foot, going to halftime with a nine point lead that was snuffed out in the third quarter by Vixens' brilliant defense.the game ended 61-43 in favour of the Vixens.

Memory Mataga delivered a superb 18-10-4, the only double-double of Gameweek 17 in the Women's Division. 

Evidence Kwayidza scored 17 points. 

On the Bunnies bench, it was Sonet Chiwangira who went home with 15 points.


Leaders Sparks and second-placed Vixens maintained their dominance at the top of the Super Six Women's standings with 32 and 30 points respectively. 

With their blistering win over Fillies, Blades have now taken what's rightfully theirs — third spot, with 25 points. Bunnies follow closely with 24 points. 

Fillies and Hornets complete the bottom third of the log with 21 and 18 points respectively. 

Gameweek 18 Preview: Women's Day Galore 

HBA Super Six Gameweek 17 Review, Mbare Bulls, Vixens, Blades, UZ Sparks, Viv Manuel, Zimbasket, JBC
Gameweek 18 fixtures, with a special timeslot for Vixens vs Blades game
Gameweek 18 of the HBA Super Six League comes on Saturday 9 March, a day after International Women's Day. 

The Harare Basketball Association has decided to commemorate the ladies who make the Super Six super by rearranging the fixtures for Gameweek 18 to give the women all the shine.

The first game of the day pits easy-beats Hornets and Fillies together. The last time they met in Gameweek 15, Hornets managed to take their first victory of the season. They'll be hoping to emulate that form for Gameweek 18 for a much needed win. 

In the second game, leaders UZ Sparks take on Bunnies, who will be trying to bounce back from their Gameweek 17 loss to Vixens. 

In the 1400 game at Sunrise Sports Club, UZ Stars and Mbare Bulls juke it out for honours' sake as there's not much left to fight for expect avoiding relegation to the Harare A League. 

The second game in the Men's division pits Hounds against Leopards. Both teams need a win if they're to keep their chances of playing in the National League alive.

The primetime fixture to commemorate International Women's Day is a blockbuster matchup between second-placed Vixens and third-placed Blades. The last time they met in Gameweek 14, only ONE point set them apart, so this will be an interesting matchup. 

Will Blades get their revenge, or will the Vixens add salt to the wound? 

The final game of the day is a mouthwatering battle between log leaders JBC and second-placed Bucs. Bucs were the first team to defeat JBC this season, and they'll be looking to make it two in a row on Saturday, as Viv Manuel revealed;

"The Bucs camp is ready. We have put in the work this week at training and are hoping for a positive result.

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