SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - This year's African Champions Cup for Women (ACCW) is up and running in the Angolan capital city of Luanda, and three games into the tournament, four-time champions InterClube de Luanda have fallen short of expectations, raising questions as to whether or not they can defend their continental title.
A lot more upsets could happen over the course of the next few days, but InterClube's early stumble couldn't be overlooked.
The ACCW tipped off last Friday and finishes next Sunday (6 December) with some of the best Africa-based players taking part in the tournament.
Nigerian international Ndidi Madu, who played a major for role for her country at AfroBasket Women 2015, came off the bench to spark the Mozambicans with 16 points and 10 rebounds, to upset the highly-favourite InterClube.
And, Madu celebrated the victory in style.
The spectacular result not only raised questions about InterClube's ability to compete for the top prize, but also ended their 14-game winning streak dating back to the 2013 ACCW when they clinched their third continental trophy in Meknes, Morocco.
But, just when we thought InterClube were on the ropes, they bounced back in Sunday's highly-anticipated clash against title contenders First Bank of Nigeria with a 70-66 win.
Whatever the tournament's final outcome may be, the biggest victory will certainly be the level of competitiveness shown by the majority of the 12 teams.
Ferroviario currently lead Group B with three wins in as many games, and looking back at the ACCW's history, that run reminds me of Mozambican side Liga Desportiva who in 2012 opened their campaign by beating Angolan giants Primeiro D'Agosto in the Group Phase on their way to taking the title in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
At the time, the Clarisse Machanguana-led Liga Desportiva upset the InterClube de Luanda 53-43 in the final.
Does Ferroviario's win over InterClube make them the number one team in the competition now?
Well, Ferroviario are title contenders since Day 1.
As of Sunday 29 November when I write this column, Ferroviario have advanced to the Quarter-Finals undefeated in three games and show no signs of slowing down.
Mozambican and Angolan clubs have built historic rivalries through the years, and looking thoroughly at this Ferroviario team that has the likes of sharp shooter Rute Muianga, Ana Suzana Jaime and Odelia Mafanela, I wouldn't be surprised if they take the trophy home.
Although I am not in Luanda, I reached out Muianga and asked her what makes this Ferroviario team so competitive.
"This is a young team," she replied.
"We come from a championship with a small number of teams where teams averaged 1.70m tall.
"But our strong point is our defense game plan.
We came to this championship determined to compete no matter what. Our mindset is never to give up and fight until the final whistle - Muianga
Muianga refused to call Ferroviario title contender, but she said: "Any team enters a competition to win, and we are not different. We are going to fight until the end," she said.
Back in Maputo, Ferroviario's win over InterClube continues to make the front pages.
If any club other than Angola's InterClube de Luanda or Primeiro D'Agosto - two realistic title contenders - end up winning this year's event, then Angolan basketball dominance on the continent will be under threat.
A couple of months ago, Angola fell short of qualify for the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament after finishing fourth at AfroBasket Women 2015.
Let's wait and see what the ACCW has to offer until Sunday, the D day.