South Africa's basketball community

Zone 6 games from Peaches point of view

By on February 16, 2009 in FanZone

Despite the extremely warm weather and scorching heat, we managed to survive a few weeks in Potchefstroom, where the University of the North West played hospitality to all the teams and officials needs.

There were six codes of sport featured at the event including football, netball, tennis, swimming, athletics and basketball. Ten Southern African countries competed in the event, which was last held two years ago in Namibia, these are South Africa (host), Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and Malawi.

I was in Potch with Fresh and Tsitso, two regular referees in the LOP and GBL leagues, that were technical officials at the games. The whole tournament was organised quite well with accommodation, meals and transport being a breeze. The basketball camp of Volunteers and Officials consisted mainly of the North West basketball team, men and women. Thabo Letsebe and Clive (North West men coach), were also among the residents at Kom en Gaan.As I mentioned before, the organising of this event was tip-top, however the facilities were lacking in some crucial areas. The indoor court on the North West campus was… hard to bear, most matches were held there meaning a high attendence of spectators. Television crews and their lighting equipment that exuded large amounts of heat had to share places with the fans, yes the people, in the seats. If that was not enough, the court itself had insufficient grip and players were travelling all over the place.
The second facility, Kopano military base, had a great wooden court so no grip problems but inadequate seating for the number of spectators that arrived and no warming up areas except the parking lot out in the sun for arriving teams. Might I add even more depressing was that no air conditioning was turned on or provided at any of the venues.

I thought of the impression this made on international guests, and the international refs overseeing the event. Tons of bottles of bonaqua water were littered around the venues as a result, and many times I heard people suggesting “why not take this event to a bigger city? Even Wits University could have hosted all the sporting codes”, well I don’t know the implications of that but I do know that terrorism and traffic were major concerns.

Despite the difficult situation, the games did not disappoint and my favourite teams were Lesotho Men and Mozambique Women and Men. Lesotho is quick on the court, non-stop up tempo the whole game. Makes you wonder what they are eating. Despite their energy levels, they don’t have a solid team. All the players look like guards, no big men to stop the opponents’ easy baskets. Their point guard is particularly good; hopefully he makes it to SA and is able to further his career.

When it comes to Mozambique they should have taken the first place from Angola, while watching their games, you see that on skill level their equally matched. In both Men and Women games they had worked and gained healthy leads, but come the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarter, they relaxed too much, for some reason. It looked like they wanted to give it away? So they did. I felt betrayed.

That’s how it went down in my eyes, a great event. The South African president, Motlanthe dropped in to close things off, on the last day. Next time it comes to SA, more publicity and possibly selling tickets to games can generate more revenue for SA sports, this aspect was overlooked and an opportunity lost.

Article by Peaches edited by Victor Shakineza

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