South Africa's basketball community

SA U20 teams settle in at the HPC

By on October 15, 2008 in News

As preparation for the Zone 6 Games taking place in Potchefstroom in December 2008, selected boys and girls gathered at the High Performance Centre in the city of Tshwane from 29September – 4 October 2008 for a camp. After arriving from different parts of the country, the players spent the first day acclimatising to the very hot weather conditions that Pretoria had to offer during that week while they were waiting for the late arrivals.

With both teams selected during the 2007 IPTs held in Pietermaritzburg, the coaches used the opportunity offered by these camps to assess and prepare for the games. Before the coaches could get the camp underway, they soon realised that they would not be able to use the LC de Villiers Indoor facility due to a communication error between various parties so they had to have their practices outside.

For the girls the technical team consists of Willie Matlakala as head coach, Emmerentia Ledwaba as assistant coach and Zanele Papa as the team manager. I had a chat about the camp and the progress the girls have made since the first camp held at Mandeville earlier in the year. They had planned for 3 practice sessions a day but due to the very hot weather they had to do with 2, early in the day and late in the afternoon.  The first camp was held at Mandeville during bitterly cold conditions of the South African winter; now the players had to contend with outdoor practice and the soaring heat of spring. With 4 new faces joining the team for this particular camp, the ones attending their second camp were more relaxed because they already knew what to expect and were familiar with the coaches and their methods. During this camp, the coaches worked on a lot of team aspects and managed to squeeze in a friendly against the Tuks ladies. After losing to the University of Pretoria, the coaches focused their next practice session on the team defence and the mental toughness of the players. With the posts needing to get a bit more aggressive before they face the likes of Angola, Mozambique, etc; Emma and Willie spent a lot of time challenging the girls and pushing them to raise their games. With Emma having played in the post position overseas and for the national team, she could impart her knowledge to the girls. She felt honoured to be coaching the national team and was happy that she was given this group of girls because she felt that they were still eager to learn. With the end of the year exams around the corner, it was impressive to hear that some of the girls were spending their free time studying.

For the boys the technical team consists of James Mtwetwa as head coach, Clement Kock as assistant and Monwabisi Planga as the team manager. If you consider the fact that the whole squad of boys selected for the U20 national team attended NBA’s Basketball Without Borders 2008 camp a few weeks back, you could say that this was their third camp. The boys coaches spent time working on plays, checking the physical conditioning of the team and getting them ready for the tough competition ahead by playing 4 friendly games against senior teams that ply their trade in the GBL and LOP leagues. The coaches were looking for the right attitudes from the players and most of them stepped up to the challenge of facing experienced opponents. Despite losing their games against Tuks, Pretoria Heat and Egoli Magic, the margin of defeat was small and in the bigger scheme of things these games were to prepare for the tournament. At the end of each camp, the players are given programs that they must work on until they assemble again. Speaking to James, he was satisfied with the progress made by his guards since the last camp and he is hopeful that by the time they meet up again the results will be better.

With both teams staying at the HPC, it was good to see that they got along just fine with the coaches sharing a meal every morning and the players mingling when they could. With the BSA elections around the corner, the words used by the coaches were: “WE HOPE FOR THE BEST”; and let’s hope this is a turning point so that we can provide these 2 teams and other teams around the country with a proper platform to shine.

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There Are 15 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Victor says:

    It will be good to take a closer look at the ladies team when they take part in the women’s tournament in december. Ciao, V

  2. kim says:

    Good luck to both teams and bring back the Gold.I just want to findout where are they playing,when and what is the tournament that there will be participating in.You neva know,support might be needed.

    Go Mzansi

  3. Warren says:

    Everytime you step out on to a court earn the uniform you are wearing. Do us proud. GO MZANSI !!!!

  4. Big time baller says:

    All i want to know how is the SA U20 selected. Which tournanent did they take part in so that these kids get selected or do we just do like in soccer and chose players because i know you. There are a lot of kids out there who can ball but in national teams you see the same faces. We must change these selection processes if South Africa wants to go far with its basketball. If not we will always loose to these forth world countries.

  5. Victor says:

    Hey Big time baller,

    From what I gathered from speaking to Tsepo Nyewe during the camp, these 2 teams were selected during the U18 IPT in Pietermaritzburg in 2007.

    Ciao, V

  6. Big time baller says:

    Hey victor. What i wana know too is that us going to these games are we as a country going to just take part or going to compete and what is the purpose of these games. Coz i tel u now other countries have a purpose and from our side i feel that we are not prepared properly and these two or 3 day camps dnt do us any good. How can u train 3 days then as a country u want to go compete. I feel that we as a country we are setting ourself to fail. Until we change our strategies to play nationally SA is going no where and we are killing the sport on the development level. That is just my opinion

  7. Joe says:

    Big time baller

    3 days may not be enough, but have you asked why only 3 days? Taking into consideration the financial implications and that BSA has not been financially viable, and maybe the interim can only afford 3 days.

  8. kim says:

    Big Time Baller
    I think your points are valid points and need to be addressed.Currently what the SA U20 are doing is much better than what has been happening over the years.When I coached the ladies team that competed during the FASU games,we got 3 days AT THE TOURNAMENT to actually have our camp.I think one of the issues as Joe is highlighting is funding.

    I think the new technical team that gets to plan needs to plan for SA teams as well.We need to know what tournaments are key to the development of bball and ensure we pay attention to that.I know that 2009 has many tournaments that SA seniors and USSA need to compete in and if we were planning in advance we should be addressing those tournaments.I however think that the executive which is to be sworn in this coming weekend should be able to put these matters on top of the agenda.

    The resaon I see this is because they were taking over and as such some issues that might be raised might have been out of their hands.Lets wait and see

  9. Joe says:

    Must say I am very disappointed with the Interim Exec, six months and no word from them. I was hoping that they would have consulted broadly to ensure that the new exec is elected with a concrete and comprehesive plan.

    I was very optimistic, but I am slowly turning into a pessimist, it seems we will have to continue with the noise making.

  10. Big time baller says:

    Hey guys i guess we should consider our country as a come lets just play for the sake that its just a game. Because we have financial problems. This country has so much resources compared to other countries to just go to a tournament and play. I beleive if who ever is at BSA knew and understood the sport we wouldnt be talking about money. We knew long time ago about tournaments or this particular tournament but there was no planning done with all the required budgets i think for this event. If we wanted to win the tournament sum1 would have done something so that this country can develop a winning mentality. Come on guys i am tired of not seeing our country get on the map for a change.

  11. kim says:

    I feel your pain big time baller

  12. neo says:

    We can a budget of 10 million to prepare for the African Champs next year and 2011 but government or sponsors will agree that they will fund the program provided we produce audited financial statements from BSA. That was the challenge that faced basketball in the past 8 years or so. I would get confirmations of camps and competitions but later told that we have no funds. )One thing I think people dont take note of is that in those 2 or 3 years the national team has mproved their stan dings in the world and Africa. Im not saying that they were well prepared but under the circustances they knew that the situation would not change if they decided to stop playing and say that they are well prepared.

    Finance is a huge obsticle and until the new(old) BSA can come up with ways of raising funds expect these 3 day camps. There are always plans and ambitions to have camps from U18 level but they always fail due to finances. We must not be blinded by the way things are done in soccer and Rugby and assume that basketball deserve to be there. Resources are available at our disposal but we need to alligned properly with the constitution that governs the whole of SA sport.

    The time has come for us to take part physically in what is happening in SA sport and make sure that we have all our ducks in a row. This week’s poll is whether you think this weeks elections matter to us and unfortunately there are those who said no, to me thats just sad because the same people, basketball loving people, will be asking but why and why not. I think ballers are very educated and intelligent so we need to look at things subjectively.


  13. Setlogelo says:


    People have a right to vote either way. If they had the opportunity to debate their choice, I am certain we would have learnt some honest truths. The disagreement does not mean the voters do not love basketball. The dudes are just being objective.

  14. Big time baller says:

    Amen neo

  15. Please can you possibly e-mail me the results of the Zone 6 championships and the Gauteng Tournament that Jewels women from ZImbabwe played in.

    We are very interested in knowing how the Zimbabwe teams are doing at the Zone VI championships