South Africa's basketball community

An example of basketball development…

By on July 13, 2008 in FanZone

With all the various comments that have been flying around the website I decided to share a personal experience I had with regard to what progress in basketball is supposed to look like.

I’ll start by recalling to the best of my ability an experience I had back in 2002. That year, there was a USSASA tournament being held at Wits University where I was coaching the Gauteng provincial boys’ team and at the same time there was the Engen U17 four nation tournament taking place at Wembley in Johannesburg. With the USSASA tournament going well for the Gauteng teams, we decided to take the boys and girls teams to watch the Engen tournament in the evening. Lucky for us, the game of the day was South Africa against Angola so we were in for a good encounter.

As we walked into the Wembley indoor arena that evening, it was full to the rafters but instead of vuvuzelas, SA flags and SA supporters you had a sea of black and red colors covering almost every available seat in the stadium and you felt as if you had just landed in Angola.

The encounter was preceded by the national anthems and with the majority of fans being from Angola, any South African in the stands felt like an away fan. The first thing you picked up as you looked at the teams on the floor was that the Angolans were much bigger, taller and more athletic than their South African counterparts. It looked as if Angola had 12 forwards in their line up while SA had 8 guards, as a coach looking on; you thought maybe they will be faster than their much bigger opponents. South Africa had players like Shooter, Shane, Nhanhla, Philani in their roster at that time and I am sure the experience of the day will stay with them forever as it did with me.

As the game started, the SA boys were holding their own for the first 5 minutes, then if my memory serves me right; Angola switched their defense from a zone to a full court man to man. To my surprise the tall players from Angola were as fast if not faster than their hosts on defense, they had the passing lanes covered by their long arms, blocked shots and seem to be using springs to jump for the rebounds. By now the SA team was making turnovers, taking poor shots and struggling to get the ball past the half way line; while it looked as if Angola had 5 guards running their offense. They started stretching the point difference between the two teams. On defense you had a giant Angolan player guarding a smaller SA player and he was stealing the ball time after time or causing bad decisions to be made. This was some serious intimidation, as the game progressed and the score was getting closer to 100 in the 4th quarter, Angola were still running hard, playing good defense and they looked like they were still playing in the 1st quarter. With the crowd urging them on, Angola got to 100 with a few minutes to go and instead of slowing down they were attacking their opponents hoop with every arsenal at their disposal via dunks, 3 pointers and layups. At the end the stadium was rocking with chants for their heroes and chants mocking the SA team. With Angolan flags being waved everywhere, cameras flashing, you were almost spell bound by the performance just witnessed from these young players from our neighboring country.

A few years after watching this destruction at the hands of Angola, I sat down to watch the 2006 FIBA World Championships and I was impressed to see some of the same players I had seen here in 2002 playing for Angola’s senior team. They had grown into men, much stronger, more disciplined and more skillful than back in 2002. This metamorphism is what I would call development.

Considering that South Africa has some if not the best living conditions in Africa, a strong economy and some of the best sporting facilities and expertise around the world; there are more questions than answers to our basketball crisis…

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There Are 11 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Baller says:


    i believe the issue we should be debating is when do you start development and what do we need as a country to do will find that in Angola there are structures from junior level as they have to feed their professional teams and you have players looking forward to that. i mean look at what the angolans did with their senior players..can you believe that all of them are currently playing in angola.

    where in africa or the world do you see a state president attending a bball game except angola..then that tells you a lot and add to that bball is their number 1 spot..

    what i can tell you is that we need passion and leadership with vision to get to that level..we can achieve that..we need to start a professional league that is consistent, have junior tournaments every quarter, development around the contry 24/7, develop coaches and equip them with the relevant skills to develpop players..then we will get somewhere in the next 07 years.

    that is my opinion.

  2. Setlogelo says:

    The structure of professional basketball, the Premier Basketball League should augment the development of basketball in the Republic of South Africa. The lack of that particular structure has added to the demise of basketball in the country.
    A passion is a career for someone else. So does basketball to individuals who have dreams in the game. When young we love the experience of junior competitions, but as we grow older we would like to see the best junior players making it big in the professional ranks and representing the country as formidable players.

    Every Sunday when I watch Slam Dunk, I ask myself many questions. What happens to playes like Neo? Is that a brand that will become extinct just like Sunday? Is that a brand that will never have value in South African basketball? Will that brand continue to volunteer its services? For Heaven’s sake, Will basketball ever make money so that it can give value to the brands of the sport? I will discuss more of this on on tuesday.

    The point of the matter is we have to face the facts that make the sport. It is true, there are many questions than answers. Let us not be clouded by the many questions there are in the sport! Let us unite, let us build a strong network of ideas outside the official organisations, let us share the intelligence. Some of you have grown and matured well in the game of basketball. Some of us have been observing the happenings and vowed to make a difference one day. There is no need pointing fingers at our current structures, but we can use influence to get what we aspire for. Let us then aspire to inspire the controlling bodies of basketball before we also expire as the many who have tried to do likewise. Unity is Strength!

  3. Interested says:

    This process should start by fixing BSA.

    What has the interim commitee done so far? We need some sort of direction in the sport and if people are sitting around hoping for the mess to sort itself out then having an interim commitee hasn’t had the desired effect.

    As for Angola, they are crazy about all sports. I’m sure there is also corruption and mismanagement there but they make sure it has a limited effect on their development.

  4. Baller says:

    talking about the interim committe, i once asked Vic to arrange an interview with one of the guys so that we be given updates..seems like we still stuck with the problem of deceminating information by the guys in charge of BSA..

    hopefully one will step up like Joe did for GBA..its high time that we be kept up to date with all the relevant information around us..

  5. Setlogelo says:

    Hey, Interested whatz up!

    I would like to believe that they (basketballSA) have already sent a proposal to Lotto so as to host the senior tournament in December. You seem to have developed anger as many followers of basketball have towards the leaders of the sport. I would not really expect the world from the new leaders since the statistics of basketball have slumped. I am talking about money on my next topic on

    With 2009 and 2010 world soccer events in South Africa, it is not going to be easy. Our (basketball’s) history is against the brand (basketball). That court case came at the wrong time. In fact it dragged for so long that the interest of basketball diminished. Those managers should have settled out of court sooner. I am upset as much as you are.

    Interested, Remember that corruption, mismanagement and greed has contributed to the present status of basketball. We just need people with the necessary skills to attend to the affairs of the sport. And the people who love the sport, too. (What would you say to the leader who says they are not interested in basketball? Have you experienced that remark?) But we are not here to talk about such things. I am here to find ways to help the sport grow.

    Upset as many others are. But I will work hard, motivated by others to make sure that basketball is played on a weekly basis in my area. I will go out and share knowlege with the leaders of the sport about shared vision for the sport.

    The people of South Africa are a forgiving people. Let us forgive those who have contributed to the demise of the sport. Let us unite in shaping the game into what it is supposed to be.

    As for Angola, they love their sports. They have been experiencing war for a long time, the effects of which still exists. Sports is what makes them happy because they have longed to achieve. Damn, they play basketball vey well.

  6. Cabby says:

    I was very touched by Victors article above, I always said to people, I am so envyous of Angolan basketball, one could think I am Angolan when I watch them play. I love their passion for the sport, particularly from the fans. They are a great nation.

    With that off my chest, reality is that I am South African and will always be. I cannot wait for SA to play at the level where Angola is now, I am a big fan of Basketball and still love it so much with its frustrations. This has brought be to understand that event though people seem to be upset and demoralised by the state of basketball in SA, I truly believe that the future of this sport is not as bleak as one would think. Vic rightfully thinks that there are more Qs than answers, but I still believe that we are well ahead of ourselves. We compare our basketball to well established organisations and countries. I think that if we had to take a step back, breath and start planning, there is a lot we can achieve.

    Yes there are no proper structures that allows good development, yes we are way behind Angola, Yes, PBL would have been great, and on and on it goes. The bottom line is that we are not where we are suppose to be and I dont think it will take that long to get there, we just have to do the little things that we can right and in time we will get there. For example, I believe that Gauteng sets trends in SA, and we can certainly do that for bball. The province is small enough to get from the south to the north. All we need to do is to create working formular for baskebtall, no matter how small it is and just grow it over time. The challenges facing basketball can be overwhelming so much so that I wonder what I would do if I was the president of BSA. I am sure everyone of us have asked themselves this question and truth be told, either you decided not to engage your mind in this and simply just brushed it off or you came up with impractical ideas which needs lots of initial funding. My believe is that if everyone of us can do everything we do to the best of our ability, the growth and success of the sport will be a natural one. This will be from running of leagues (LOP/GBL), information sharing and PR (e.g. Vic and his website), Events and marketing (DarkChild Prod) etc. At least there is common vision between the LOP management and GBA. I think basketball in GP is of the quality comparible to the rest in the world, we just need to package in nicely to be a sellable property. If we present the best of what we have properly, the game will see a natural growth. We just need leadership to guide and support the growth towards the common goal across the board.

  7. Baller says:

    at the end of the day, as bballers we shudn’t be looking at money to solve our frustrations..our passion should be driving us to the ultimate goal we wanna achieve..believe you me, we are in this state cos of money..

    if we move away from the money factor, then we going somewhere in developing bball..we all just need to stand up and be counted..stop being critcs in waiting cos we gonna criticise anything that someone initiates and the circus will continue till infinity..

    lets atleast get together and not just share ideas on these forum..we sure need live debate where all of us will sit and debate bball and how we can all contibute out little time and effort moving forward..

  8. Joe says:


    Sorry to put the spanner into your solution above. But then the question is, who should convene this meeting, under what guise should this meeting be convened, who is going to implement the way forward, more importantly what happens if people differ in terms which direction to take?

    These are constitutional issues that first need to be addressed before such a meeting is called, otherwise such a meeting will be deemed illegitimate.

  9. Baller says:

    personally i would say in gauteng we have GBA then other provinces have their structures. but then if we start that here then we will be used as a guide. i agree that other people might have different views which to me is good as other great initiatives might arise from the debates..

    that is my opinion as we would also be avoiding issues you just raised..

  10. Joe says:


    Im sorry if my contribution is no longer just thoughts but a call to action. We can spend countless hours voicing our opinion in this forum, but it will be more productive to actually action our suggestions in order to move bball forward.

    More question, is GBA going to convene such a forum voluntarily or does someone have to ask them? Baller, can you request GBA for this forum.

    If GBA does not convenve such a forum, what them?

  11. Baller says:

    i agree that we should be moving into action and i will personally write a letter to GBA for such a forum with my suggestions.

    if they do not agree to that then i guess we will just have to rely on our district structures to move the idea forward..