The Sunday Mail
THERE were so many stories to come out of the recently held Basketball Union of Zimbabwe National League Championships.
The finals — held in Mutare a fortnight ago — saw the new format continue. While Manicaland powerhouse, Mercenaries, finally reached the promised land and won the coveted men’s title, beating Foxes 75-60 in the final.
Hornets’ women also tightened their grip on the women’s division, winning both the Harare Basketball Association and National League titles on their way to an unbeaten season.
The champions played 32 games in all competitions.
However, for all the stories and successes of the games, there was a surprise in the fairy-tale of 36-year-old Patience Chinhoyi who simply turned the hands of time and reminded all in attendance that her best days are probably still far from over.
The Hornets Centre walked away with the Most Valuable Player award, a feat that surprised many, including her.
“To be totally honest, I’m still at a loss for words,” said the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services employee.
“I’m in my mid-thirties and really, l didn’t expect to win this award.
“There is so much talent in the women’s division – younger and faster players and I am totally overjoyed that I managed to rise to the top and eclipse them all,” Chinhoyi said.
Born on March 3, 1983, Chinhoyi is arguably one of the most recognisable names in Zimbabwean women basketball, having made her debut 23 years ago while still in high school.
“For the most part, netball is my first love.
“I started playing the sport in primary school and only moved to basketball in Form 1 at Glen View High 1.
“As it turns out, I was natural at the sport and was selected for the provincial team during my first year,” she said.
It was during that time that she caught the eye of veteran coach Rodrick Takawira. She then joined the fabled Cameo side of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
With Cameo, she won six HBA and three national league titles, later becoming a staple within the national team. She retired from the international game in 2014.
Relinquishing her national duties allowed her to pursue other interests, which in this case refers to her love for all things sports, particularly netball, rugby and volleyball.
“Sport is my life.
“While I enjoy hanging out with friends and family — here and there — most of my time is spent on the sport fields or courts.
“Netball is my first love, but over the years I have ventured into rugby and most recently volleyball. Aside from basketball, that is.
“These sports keep me busy all year round as the seasons do not really intersect and that has afforded me the opportunity to play all three.
“And when not on the basketball, rugby, volleyball or netball court/field, I love watching sports.
“I can watch any sporting activity, even if I don’t play it.”
Having represented the country in netball, rugby and basketball, Chinhoyi has now set her sights on making the grade in volleyball.
Now, the MVP crown seems to have rejuvented her career. Chinhoyi appears to have come out of retirement and was yesterday included in the Zimbabwe women’s sqaud for next month’s AfroBasket qualifiers.