South Africa's basketball community

GBA U16 trials off to chaotic start

By on March 16, 2009 in High School

After frantic calls to BSA members and various GBA members, the issue was somehow resolved after Tsepo Nyewe (GBA chairman), who had sent out the invitation to the schools, arrived and spoke to the organizer of the drummies and the trials finally got underway.

The turnout was very good, with more than 70 boys and well over 40 girls. There was an abundance of talent on show especially from the boys section. With a bit more preparation time, the teams would bring back the gold, but as usual there is little to no time for that with the final team being selected this coming Saturday 21 March and the tournament taking place the following week.

After the day’s proceedings, squads of 22 players were selected and these will be trimmed this coming Saturday at Wits University.

Some of the concerns raised by those parents and teachers that attended the trials:

  1. When are we going to start acting professionally? (Booking of venues, providing information well in advance, etc…)
  2. How do we invite minors (who will obviously come with parents) and display such conduct?
  3. For how long are we going to select our teams on the eve of the tournament and expect coaches to perform miracles?
  4. Who is accountable and how do we make them accountable?
  5. What is the role of the districts in terms of selection and what assistance do they offer?

Maureen Makena, who is from Tshwane district, said that she had to persuade the coach of the team to include two exceptionally talented players from Sedibeng district in her squad. These 2 players who in her opinion are of national team caliber were not at the trials because they hadn’t heard about it or they couldn’t travel to the venue.

Speaking about Tshwane district, Maureen said that apart from School Basketball that shows professionalism, dedication, commitment and passion; the rest of the district organization was a mess in all aspects of the game. There are no executives, no activities, and no meetings. Tshwane Basketball Association has done nothing to improve the game and requests for meetings usually fall on deaf ears; the chairman of the association is seldom seen at basketball events.

And now there is a Gauteng Basketball Association AGM coming up this weekend and all of a sudden these same district chairmen will come out of the obscurity and go and vote for themselves and their pals without any form of accountability to the public they serve..

On the issue of the GBA AGM, Maureen asked whether the timing of the meeting isn’t questionable because there are GBL league games, SA camp and trials at the same time so this will surely affect attendance. She wondered what the method of voting was.

Some of the other questions she raised were:

  1. Were we not supposed to receive, together with the notice of the meeting reports from all portfolios so we scrutinize them and save time at the meeting? Surely we won’t expect verbal reports at an AGM?
  2. A report on the women’s tournament and the outstanding prizes which are a burning issue since this has created doubt on the organizers credibility…

Please note that the issues raised in this article by Maureen are on a personal capacity as a concerned parent and coach.

Article compiled by Victor Shakineza with Maureen Makena’s contribution

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There Are 25 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Joe says:

    I must agree with some points raised in above as I feel very strongly about them. Firslty, it was totally unacceptable that no one from GBA was at the venue long before the start of the event to ensure that logistics are in order.

    Secondly, again I was very disappointed by the selection of the boys coach. I want to point out that my objection is not the person but rather the process and its message. Fact is the coach selected is not involved with youth basketball, what message are we sending to youth basketball coaches who commit themselves to youth basketball on a daily basis? Also, I have screamed till my lungs turned purple, we need a coaches forum in which issues like selection coaches can be discussed to ensure transparency. It is frustrating to attend trails to find that coaches have been appointed out of the blue or even on the spot. Mostly, these decisions are made to ingratiate that individual and it does not take into account other coaches.

    I must also point out that it was also very disappointing that some of the people who were complaining loudly on Saturday are the very same ones who have have declared themselves unavailable to serve in structures. It is my firm believe that if you think you do not have time to help the structures one cannot turn around a start throwing stones.

    I am also hoping that this weekend and the senior trials are reason enough for coaches to realise that they need to be involved in political oversight.

  2. baller says:

    Joe and Vic

    who are the coaches?

  3. Victor says:

    Hey baller,

    I am not sure about the coaches but as soon as I found out I will update you.


  4. Themba says:

    People are just interested in position than in developing basketball.If people come into this website and complain,we are the same people who criticize people when they complain.I believe we don’t know what we want.People are being use as scape goat out there.Politics in sport does work.why do you think FIFA ban countries that involve politics in sport.

    I believe the communities of basketball have power over the management or administration of basketball.If people are willing to fight to their rights of basketball,they will stand together and do it without and fear of no-one.

    We need to have interviewers conducted for every role of managerial position.

  5. Joe says:


    The boys coach is Terry (Wits) and the girls is Brenda.


    Please re-phrase your comments I cannot make head or tails of them.

  6. baller says:

    the coaches selection is interesting. now i agree with you that ajunior coach should be appointed to coach juniors. if we feel that the junior coach is not experienced enough, then a senior coach can be roped in as an assistant.

    Brenda, is it our senior women’s national team assistant coach?

  7. Themba says:


    I agree with man

    I think we need to groom more coaches using the junior categories.We cannot have people coaching into different age categories.We need to develop more people into these roles.

    For me doesn’t make no-sense having Brenda as Coach,This people must act as consulted to the upcoming coaches at Junior.We need to share responsibility so that we can enhance the standard of basketball,when it comes into the system of coaching

  8. Themba says:


    I agree with u man

    I think we need to groom more coaches using the junior categories.We cannot have people coaching into different age categories.We need to develop more people into these roles.

    For me doesn’t make no-sense having Brenda as Coach,This people must act as consulted to the upcoming coaches at Junior.We need to share responsibility so that we can enhance the standard of basketball,when it comes into the system of coaching

  9. Victor says:

    Hey there,

    The girls coach Brenda is not the same that was the assistant to the national ladies team. This particular Brenda hails from Soweto from what I heard. I will try and obtain their proper names to stop the confusion.


  10. wandile mgwenya says:

    i never heard about the trials and i wantted tyo trial

  11. Frustrated says:

    Once again, those coaches who put their hearts and soul into coaching high school basketball are overlooked. We are never recgonised for the hard work and it’s very ironic because if it weren’t for us as youth coaches, there would be no players to trial. We bulid these kids up from day one, we teach them the essential skills they need, we help them develop their god given talent and learn to use it to their full potential. We provide the solid foundation they need in order to flourish.
    But because we are in it for the kids, and only want to see them do well, we continue our hard work with immense dedication and quiet perserverence in the hope that we have done enough, that no matter what coach our players may be given, they will still rise up and be the BEST they know how to be!
    A BIG thank you to all those high school coaches out there!! You give kids the hope and inspiration to keep their dreams alive! Keep it up!!

  12. kim says:

    I feel your pain my brother/sister and I hope you can be motivated enough to make sure that you dont stop doing the work that you guys do.Decision makers sometimes overlook important things that junior coaches do and it feels like there is no recognition for the hard work one does.

    May you not give up because those kids know the contribution that you giving.

  13. Theo says:


    That’s how things are in SA basketball.International coaches who coaches in high school are more recognized than those in high position.You don’t need to worry about being recognized.The hard work that you put will never go without being recognized.

    You don’t need to coach at highest level to be recognized.It has benefit when you coach at the lowest of the benefit, you can work as basketball developer.There many aspects of basketball you learn when you are the lower level. There are many international coaches who have succeed in basketball while coaching in high school.

    If you have time you can Google high school best coaches in the world,It will give you more inspiration than worrying.

  14. baller says:

    as much as i agree a junior coach should have been appointed to coach the junior teams, i think that we should move away from the culture of entitlement. where people feel that because they are coaching so and so and they win the league or games then they’re entitled to coach the provincial or national team. Kim alluded to this sometime back.

    people should remember that coaches are there to contribute in their lives. as a coach you should also be happy that you adding value in a young kids life. i am not a coach and was never a good basketball player but can tell you that many a coaches made a meaningful contribution in my life hence am sitting behind a desk working. those coaches back in the day never even made it to provincial or district coaching but they made a valuable contribution to me and others.


    continue with what you are doing in your high-school and your players success are the rewards that should make you proud. kids should not suffer. lastly, you should maybe consult Joe and he will tell you as he has been saying on the right way of having your frustrations heard. involvement at districts where you voice will be heard like people in Khutsong.


    personally i never want to compare our situation with the american or british way of doing things. the reason is that we should all move from where we are in terms of organisation before we start making comparisons. that is why we will never move on the right track because we always want to jump some crucial stages.

    we must take things a step at a time. in basketball, they always say, one stop at a time.

  15. baller says:

    on the issue of development, this is what has been bothering me and since we on the junior subject let me raise it. to all the coaches and those interested in basketball. am i the only one seeing that we have a major problem with our junior developments in the country. you go watch high school basketball and you are in for a shock of your life.

    our junior players do not even know which leg to use for making lay-ups. i mean the basic fundamentals triple threat, foot-work, bouncing etc. what is happening to our juniors. back in those days kids as young as 13 will do all that with ease.

    please, can someone out there tell me what is the problem. we should not blame BSA but rather explore possible solutions to the problem.

  16. Theo says:


    We need to have comparison with what other country are doing,so that we can able to compete with them.

    I don’t know if you might have read an article of using Australian basketball system,which was suggested by then president of BSA(Vusi)

    Just like you said the high school basketball is shocking.We need to have programmes which i use by this country to help us develop basketball.Even the best sporting codes in South Africa are using the system of developed country to improve their games

    How do you expect to compete international if our development standards are below par.

    I can give this reference,Most South African players have more talent than the British players,But because of the development they have,it looks like there have more talent than us.

  17. Theo says:


    You will understands what i am talking about.may be this the reason why Angola is number 14 in the world and number 1 in Africa.

    ”Angola intends to take lessons from the U.S. sports potential, particularly in basketball, Angolan Sports Minister Goncalves Muandumba said here on Thursday.

    After meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Angola Dan Mozena, the Angolan sports minister told reporters that they both discussed the possibility of regular training of Angolan sports players, particularly basketball players in the United States.

    According to the minister, they also analyzed the possibility of holding seminars for Angolan national competition teams in the United States, including the training of Angolan youths in U.S. academic and sports schools.

    The Angolan sports minister said the U.S. ambassador expressed his country’s readiness to provide assistance to Angola’s sports development programs, particularly basketball sport.

    He said the U.S. ambassador also recognized Angola’s potential in basketball, a discipline he said his country can contribute with its experience for a major development.”

  18. baller says:


    i do understand what you are saying. my point is where does our problem lie within our basketball. we can have 100 clinics or take 200 kids to the states. then what happens after? do we know how players are abroad from here? before we compare ourselves to them, we need to get our house in order. i believe that we want to sprint before we can crawl. Angola has been organised for how many years? they have the right to compare themselves with that.

    the australian model is one of the best so i heard. countries in Asia are adopting it but if we do that now as basketball here will it benefit us? my argument will be no since we are not organised.

    i read in the paper this week i think where they said our senior men national coach is going to europe for three months to attend coaching clinics. its good that he is going but then when he comes back, what happens? for me we should start by getting our admin in order and then take it a step at a time. after 5 or so years then we can talk about comparisons.

    as a country we would all love to beat Angola, but does our situation allow for that? this are things am talking about.

  19. Frustrated says:


    I was not trying to say that youth coaches are entitled to coach provincial teams just because they coach high school, you have completely missed my point! It was a mere observation that coaches were overlooked. I know how the process worked to select those coaches, so I know what I am talking about! I was merely saying youth coaches are overlooked time and time again. If you have never been a coach how can you comment on something like this, you have NEVER experienced the frustration we go through. by the way I AM involved on a district level, i’m on our committee. So i know what goes on. Just because you are involved doesn’t mean you get heard!!
    I will continue doing what i AM, thats what I said I would do!


    I am not worrying about being recogonised, i was just mentioning that coaches are often overlooked. I don’t lose sleep over things like that. I get more than enough recogonition from the school I work for and neither do I need a website to inspire me. My players inspire me everyday! I carry on because of the kids, because they need coaches who are about the game and development and not about personal glory. I was just trying to point out that youth coaches do a lot of work for basketball and every now and again it would be nice to be remembered by those in power!!

    Thanks for the empathy and understanding!!

  20. baller says:


    my apology for the misunderstanding.

  21. Theo says:


    The only way to improve our basketball development is to go back and see what happened with the system we had in the 90s.If we can reintroduce the school system basketball which we had in the past.In the 90s we had all age group level playing ball.

  22. Trevor says:

    As a “newbie” to the supporters world of SA Basketball, it was with much relief to finally find this wonderful website, as news from an “official” SA Basketball website is hard to find.

    I am one of the parents who was fortunate enough to have my son attend these “trials” and who was ultimately selected for the team. In respect of the trials, I have to say I was shocked at the chaotic organisation (or lack thereof?). The parents/coaches/pupils managed to get to the venue on time, but no official was there to greet and meet – only a drummie competition that was really well organised and that for a period took precedence. After nearly 2 hours of waiting (boy are we South Africans a patient lot…), finally some action. A good show of talent from those present and as in all sport selections, sad to see some of the eliminations. In the subsequent whittling down process, the boys were given a pretty gruelling workout and congratulations to those who made the final team. However, this team has only had a couple of hours at best to practise with one another…I cannot comment much on the standard of coaching at junior level / selection of coach etc for the team selected. What I do believe is that at school level, there is not too much emphasis on basketball relative to rugby, cricket and soccer, but there are a number of dedicated school level coaches out there. Having attended some league basketball games, there is obviously intense interest there, and I would presume that sponsorship attends to much of their financial needs.

    My overwhelming impression thus far is that Basketball SA gets the (very) short end of the sporting stick (financial assistance etc) in SA. Yet I would think that of the majority of sporting codes, surely basketball offers the most serious bang-for-buck in terms of getting kids off the street in the most cost-effective way? In respect of the way these trials were conducted – 70 boys to compete out of the most densely populated province in the country?? If I compare this event to the way in which junior football trials are run, then clearly Basketball SA could learn a great deal.

    Junior soccer trials are run very vigorously; are conducted over a period of days and comprise selections firstly in a number of sub-regions of the province (thus greater access to players throughout the Province is given). Once each sub-region has the best selections, these sub-regions are then involved in further competitions before the Provincial team is selected. The number and variety of coaches/officials all taking down copious notes of all boys competing is quite amazing. Very professional; very organised.

    As far as the team heading off to the Polokwane event of yesterday – another display of poor organisation. The Joburg based players were to meet at 10am (no problem) – again not too much in the way of meet and greet from officials… after which the bus was to head to Pretoria to pick up the rest of the team members and then head on to Polokwane.

    Well the taxi strike in Joburg put paid to those plans. The bus driver could not get the bus out of town safely to pick the team members up and to cut a long and drawn out saga to a close, the bus finally left at 19h15, proceeded to Pretoria and finally got to the venue at around 01h00 this morning. Obviously this is not a great way for the team to start the competition!! Whilst it is appreciated that safety was the prime concern, this taxi strike was known well in advance and I am sure a contingency plan could have been put into place to avoid the trouble.

    “Fail to plan and you plan to fail”…

    Well I can only wish the Gauteng U16 teams good luck, and again thanks for this excellent website and forum.

  23. Darren says:

    Hi Trevor

    Thanks for adding this – great to hear it from that perspective, and I believe almost everyone reading and commenting here would love to see basketball reach the ideals that you speak of there, and then some!

    I hope that the decision makers will read your comment, learn from it, and apply those learnings to create a much more conducive environment for growing outstanding basketball players in South Africa.

    Thanks for stopping by, glad you like the site!

  24. Joe says:

    I thought the day will never come when I have to do say this, I AM FED UP WITH BASKETBALL.

    As I have often alluded to, I made the decision to be involved in basketball administration when I was old enough to continue playing. I made this decision because in Duduza, my township, there were talented players who could have walked into any GP team. However, because Duduza is far from Joburg and there was no coach or administrator to communicate trials information to these players, I was forced to play this role.

    Because Duduza is located in Ekurhuleni I tried to find the Association which would be the channel for such information, unfortunately there was no Association. I found other teams from Ekurhuleni and I discovered that some also faced the same frustration of not knowing about trials. I also discovered that some teams in Ekurhuleni had access to this information but never shared this with others, obviously for their own selfish reasons.

    Though my experience in Tennis and Soccer I knew that an Ekurhuleni structure was needed firstly to ensure that ALL PLAYERS got a fair chance to trial and represent Ekurhuleni, GP and SA. I duly took it upon myself to facilitate the formation of the EBA to address this problem of no communication and selfishness.

    As you could imagine there was challenges to this endeavor. Firstly, the teams that had the priveledge of access to information resisted the formation of the association because the stood to lose their priveledge if all had a fair chance. Anyone from Ekurhuleni can attest to how we fought, sometimes even PHYSICALLY, to ensure that everyone has a fair chance. After a much fighting we realised that the only way we could go forward was for us to sit, talk and agree, and that forming the Association was only forum we could ensure fairness.

    Unfortunately for me, once Ekurhuleni was sorted I realised that GP also faced the same predicament of unfair representation and selfishness among BOTH players and administrators. AGAIN, I fought bitterly to ensure that GBA is properly constituted and that fairness becomes the driving ethos. As some will again attest this required a lot of sacrifice from me financially, professionally and personally. To such an extend that after a successful restructuring process and the election of new GBA I had to resign from the executive as my family had had enough of my involvement with bball. This was a very hard decision for me as I have put a lot of effort to ensure that GBA is properly constituted and also prioritises fairness.

    I therefore was heartbroken when I countinously heard and experienced how my efforts to preach and practise FAIRNESS were all in vain as administrators continued to run bball as personal organisations with FAVOURITISM the modus operandi. It was even more hurtful when I noticed that some of the people we have struggled together through this journey were the very perpetrators of this deplorable practise.

    It was with great sadness that during the conducting of trials I heard other coaches, senior and administrators influencing the coach to select their players or players who were not in the trials. More frustrating was that some of these whisperers were current and former players who have complained about how GBA and BSA have conducted trials unprofessionally in the past.

    This pain was further magnified when I heard that some of th players that were chosen in the first trials were dumped in favour of the players who either came very late for the trials or did not even bother to show up. However, these players got selected because of the INFLUENCE of those who referred them to the coach.


  25. SyKe says:

    When are the next trials going to be? I missed them this year