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SA men team 2009 low down

By on February 13, 2009 in News

4th February 2009 and the first senior camp for men got underway at the High Performance Center in Pretoria and eventually ended on a high note on Sunday the 8th, with players looking forward to the next one. You would have expected the intensity of the camp to diminish as the days went by but to everyone’s surprise the intensity picked up and the players were competing harder, running faster and diving all over the court for the loose balls. The common word used by all 3 coaches was maturity, disciplined and talented when describing this group of players. With most of the players having played in the Senior tournament in Alice, Eastern Cape in December 2009, there was a camaraderie amongst the players but as soon as the sessions started they were pushing each other all the way to the last day.

As has become the norm Mybasketball was there to give you the inside scoop on the camp and we got to sit down and speak to the coaches: Flosh Ngwenya (F) – Head coach, Thierry Kita (T) – Assistant coach and Craig Gilchrist – Assistant coach (C), we had a few questions regarding the camp answered. We also spoke to Neo Mothiba (N) the team captain and his deputy Quintin Denyssen (Q) to get their views on the 2009 camp.Mybasketball: What are your thoughts on the camp in General?

Flosh (F): This camp is a chance to assess the fitness of the group and see if they can grasp the systems that we are going to implement during the camp. The organization could have been better with earlier information and planning but it’s a step in the right direction because BSA is willing to listen to our concerns. The president and 1st Vice president addressed the squad and had private meetings with the players.

Thierry (T): There are plenty of individually talented players; the challenge will be for us to mould them into a single unit. During the first 2 days it was chaotic with the venue being a problem but after that there were no issues. There is still plenty of work ahead so this is just the first phase. As far as organization goes, the players that were supposed to be here were flown in from all over the country and had accommodation sorted out so that was satisfactory.

Craig (C): I came on day 3 so I didn’t experience the issues of the first 2 days but ever since I have been here it has been a good camp. If I had to compare it to the other camps I have attended as a player and as a coach, I have to say that the players at the camp are at an advanced stage at this particular camp and maybe it is because they are more mature now having been in the national setup for a while.

Neo (N): Very productive camp, well organized and structured in terms of the practices so we (players) were challenged all the time. The previous problem that SA had was that we never had enough set offences so we were predictable in certain situations so this camp gave us a chance to rectify that. The lack of a practice kit is a concern that hopefully will be fixed by the next camp but the challenges facing BSA are such that there are no funds yet.

Quintin (Q): The camp in general was well organized, the coaching staff had a preparation plan that they generally executed very well. Both the players and coaches were able to bring something positive and take something positive to the camp. The basic needs of the players were met and all reasonable requests were generally granted. The meeting between the players and the BSA management on the first night was a productive one and if the trend continues there is a definite base to work on.

Mybasketball: What do you think of the balance of the squad?

F: There is a nice blend of youth and experience. The young players are here to learn our system and get exposed to the national team so that if they are called upon they are ready. There is a lack of a big center but we are aggressively looking to see if we can find some of them but in the meantime we have a good team to work with ahead of the qualifiers.

T: There is a good vibe within the squad with some of the friendships visible on and off the court. There is respect and leadership amongst the players and you can see that the senior players are helping the new members settle down. The balance of the team is good, we don’t have a recognized center but the most of the players are still tall and we can make that up by playing as a team especially on defense.

C: I think that most teams in Southern Africa have a lack of a recognized center so we will only be really affected when we play the North African countries in the tournament in Lybia. We are a team of guards and small forwards so we will have to use that to our advantage somehow.

N: I think that these are the best players in the country so the team is well balanced the only worry is at the guard position where all our guards have specific qualities that we would ideally like to have in one person. With our lack of height in the post, our intensity on defense and our speed on offense will determine whether we win or lose games.

Q: I have read a lot of comments on this website about the composition of the team but in my opinion this is a well balanced side with a few new faces. There is significant experience within the team to handle the pressure of international games. At the highest level, talent can sometimes have minimal impact because it is all about execution and discipline which in my experience is more likely to come from the senior players.

Mybasketball: How do you link the junior programs to the senior team?

F: The fact that we don’t have a single player from the U20 team shows that we are still struggling and that’s worrying. The coaches and some of the players should have attended this camp to get up to speed with us.

C: We should ideally have a squad of 25 players where you include the best U16, U18 and U20 players in the country to expose them to the senior side. Make the best 4 or 5 coaches attend the camp and have a camp every month. We should have a national league so that young players look forward to something after high school and have it before you have a Campus league.

Q: I guess the best way to link the junior and the seniors is to develop a program that utilizes a combination of mentoring and succession. Invite young players to the camp and let them be groomed by coaches and senior players so that they can make the transition. Once all the fundamentals are taught the only way to get better is through competing so they will need to play in games and leagues of high standard.

Mybasketball: How can BSA make such camps better in the future?

C: communication, communication and better communication. And funding would be nice. They should improve the coaching all over the country by bringing in more international coaches to instruct our local coaches so that our standard improves. Basketball has to be professional if you want to qualify for the Olympics because amateurs will rarely be able to beat someone who is doing basketball as a job. Let coaches pick the national coaches; so have a coaching director or a coaching commission with input from all over the country.

N: Improve communications; let the players know what they are getting before they get to camp so that they solely focus on training when they get to camp. The players’ last concern should be dealing with any administrative issues. BSA should phone the players to make sure that they know what’s happening. There should be an organizational flow so that things are done professionally and beforehand.BSA should follow through on the suggestions made by the players instead of ignoring them like the previous regime.

Mybasketball: What are the chances of SA qualifying?

F: Our chances of qualifying are good, we have played Mozambique a few times and some of our players have been out there so they know what to expect.

T: I am getting a lot of feedback from the head coach and the players that have been playing at international level. People are talking about Mozambique but we should remember that the other countries are as capable as them so we won’t underestimate them.

C: I am sharing my playing experience with these players so I hope that my international experience will help the players go to Mozambique better prepared. Looking at the next camp, we will look to improve team chemistry and offense knowledge of the players.

N: Quintin, Nyakallo and I have been playing in Mozambique so we know what to expect when we go out there and we will have to be the smarter team. But the players know what they are in for so we keep reminding them not to relax.

Q: The qualification tournament will be interesting especially since it’s being hosted in Mozambique. Since the men’s team won the last qualifying tournament, I think that the expectation exists that we will do the same again. There are no easy games at international level, but if we execute and play like we are expected to then I think that we will qualify. The challenges revolve around players making sure that they stay in shape and that they reinforce and remember the offensive and defensive system that they learnt at the camp.

Finally Mybasketball sat down with team manager Clemen Kock to discuss the camp from an administrative point of view. Clemen is there to make life easy for the team; he makes sure that everything is sorted out (venues, food, accommodation, documentation and communication with the BSA management). He said that the team would be going to Mozambique with a team doctor and a physiotherapist and that he had to make sure that the players’ needs and requirements before the tournament were in order. He was happy with how BSA had handled his demands and despite some of the challenges; they were trying to fulfill all the team’s requirement before they depart for Mozambique.

To my knowledge the team was not cut so the same players will gather at the next camp.

Article by Victor Shakineza, pictures by Julia Harms, Danny Malothane and Kobie van Jaarsveld

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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. sipho says:

    Quite pleased with comments from the team

    I’ve got massive hope!

    Thanx Bra Vic, for your hard work, it’s greately appreciated. Nice piece!!

  2. CK says:

    On point Bra Sipho. You guys are doing a great job with covering Basketball in SA. Keep on keeping on. Big Shout out to the mybasketball team (Danny included cos i dont know is he HPC / TUKS/ mybasketball :-))

  3. Katlego says:

    i like the make up. Quite experienced bunch, saw some of the Africa Basketball highlights where our players came through in crunch time in the Moz league…very nice…well done Q, Neo, Nyaks…as the players themselves have noted, all we need is to blend youth with experience…bring in the young bucks!

  4. neo says:

    Maninque nice. I like it a lot….

  5. baller says:

    just a thought. how possible is it for BSA to arrange travelling packages for fans who would love to travel to watch the games in mozambique and even Libya.

  6. kim says:

    Even Zimbabwe!!Baller,Thats the best idea I have come across for 6months or even more.We have been talking about trying to go watch the games and supporting our teams

  7. sipho says:

    good 1 baller!

    So far I’ve been & still am supporter number 1 of our national team, they know! It wud really be nice to have more ppl screaming for the team!

  8. Scula1.0 says:

    TO BSA,

    What is happening in KZN is really a pity, reason being that the reasons why we do not have the the greatest pool of High calibre of players is because the organisers on the ground level are not pulling their weight in terms of orgainising. There should mens tournaments and leagues in KZN to get players to fully showcase their skills and committments to the sport, instead we see them same people representing KZN over and over. I refuse to believe that they are the best we can do ( No offense ) In every sport it is a highly competitive environment so new faces should be a given.

    Why are there no leagues and tournements??? Any takers please!!!!!