BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
A DAY after celebrating his 29th birthday on Tuesday with a match-winning perfomance, Zimbabwe international basketball star Vitalis Chikoko was presented with the perfect birthday gift after signing a two year-contract extension with French top-flight club Levallois Metropolitans 92.
The 2,08m tall power forward was already under contract at Levallois Metropolitans 92 until 2022 after signing a three-year deal when he joined from another French club Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez in June.
However, Chikoko’s sparkling form since joining the club has convinced Metropolitans 92 to offer him a new contract as they seek to keep hold of arguably the best player in the French top-flight at the moment.
After an impressive debut campaign last season, which earned him his second All-Star nomination, Chikoko has been in superb form again this term, averaging 15.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the ambitious Paris-based club in the French Jeep Elite ProA.
Chikoko, who is being touted as a serious contender for the Jeep Elite ProA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award this season, confirmed the contract extension in a statement on his social media accounts and revealed he was looking forward to more success at the club.
“I am pleased to announce the extension of my stay at Metropolitan92. It’s already been my home and it shall be so till 2024. l look forward to many more great exploits to come with the Metropolitan92 family,” Chikoko said.
The contract extension came in the same week the Zimbabwe international claimed the coveted French Jeep ELITE ProA Player of the Week honour after his match-winning performance against Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Chikoko had a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, while his team beat Strasbourg 97-89 in a regular season tie at the Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan in Levallois, Paris.
Levallois Metropolitans 92 are currently in fourth position on the 18-team French Jeep ELITE ProA log, six points behind leaders Monaco. The top eight teams qualify for the playoff quarter-finals, a feat which has eluded Levallois Metropolitans 92 since 2017.
On Friday the club progressed to the semi-finals of the French League Cup with a 82-74 victory over Cholet at Disneyland Paris with Chikoko managing 12 points and nine rebounds.
Since their formation, Levallois have won two titles thus far after clinching a memorable double in 2013 when they won French League Cup and the French Super Cup.
Chikoko, who has also played professional basketball in Germany and Italy, is expected to play a pivotal role at the Paris-based side which is aiming to challenge for the French title and also make an impact at the EuroCup Basketball competition.