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USSA 2009 Final

By on April 15, 2009 in League

There was a funny undertone to the final day of the USSA with the UJ teams feeling like this was their time for some silverware and VUT wanting to claim the title back for the ladies while the guys were trying to defend their 2008 title. I still remember that after last years game in Cape Town, Thabang Kwedi a Vaal player had gone to the UJ coach, Simon Badibanga and said “You will never beat VUT as long as I am playing” so you could feel the tension around the court.

University of Johannesburg vs. Vaal University of Technology – Ladies

VUT started like a house on fire with great inside play from the ladies from Zimbabwe (VUT 4, 14 and 15) and UJ started small to everyone’s surprise in the stands. This played into VUT hands and they had a 10 point run in the first 5 minutes. With 2 minutes left, VUT coach-Zanele Ngwenya took out his starting 5 and played his second unit, which enabled UJ to get back in the game. In hindsight, this looked like a very bad move from VUT coach, Zanele Ngwenya but after looking at the overall game, this move led to UJs key players picking up fouls against the 2nd unit and the VUT starting 5 had enough rest for the rest of the game which helped them wrap things up in the fourth. After speaking to Zanele Ngwenya after the game on his overall thoughts on the game, he said: “I outsmarted the UJ coaches”.After the first quarter, UJ had made inroads into VUT’s the 10 point lead and they had cut down it down to 5 points. The second quarter was all about UJ 10 (Ellen Mouthlwase) and her quick thinking. She made UJ tick on offense while their defence improved to hold VUT to only 8 points only. At half time the score was tied 28 points apiece.

VUT started the 3rd quarter with the starting 5 which included 3 zimbabweans girls, 1 namibian girl and a South African girl (Requelh)who was running point; these players all play for their countries respectively and that experience was evident on the floor with the great poise they showed when they came on the court. The chief suspect was VUT 14 (Chugulba, C) who was having a great game with an amazing number of rebounds and second chances. And when she wasn’t hurting UJ with 2nd chances, she was hurting them by making her free throws. They outscored UJ by 10 points in this quarter.

The final quarter of the game was a strange one, with UJ10 (Ellen Mouthlwase) in foul trouble, she was left on the bench until there was about 6minutes left and without her, UJ struggled to get their offense going. Maybe it was nerves but shots that usually went in were falling short and the passes were not hitting their intended targets. Whenever UJ threatened to make a run, VUT would rally and make their own run. In the end both teams cancelled each other out with 16 points each in the quarter which meant that VUT kept their 10 point margin they had going into the fourth quarter. Final score: UJ 59 – 69 VUT


Game notes: Asked about what the main focus of VUT was during the tournament, Zanele Ngwenya-VUT coach said that defence was the main priority and that all his players had a part to play. His strategy against UJ was to go inside and use his posts to accumulate points. UJ have stumbled for the second time in the final and their players seem afraid to succeed.

Vaal University of Technology vs. University of Johannesburg – Men

Before the game started, I had a few words with the UJ men’s coach Simon Badibanga who was disappointed at the way he was told that he would not be coaching the SA students team to Serbia. He felt that as far as the USSA tournament was concerned, he was unhappy with the treatment he was receiving by a sector of the basketball community.

This game was marred by bad refereeing decisions from the first whistle with the indiscipline of some of the VUT players going unpunished. The referees didn’t stamp their authority when they had the opportunity and as the game got closer to the end, the frustration grew from the players and the coaches on the floor and tempers flared. This almost led to an unsavoury moment of madness…

The game started with UJ getting into the swing of things very early. They were capitalising on VUT inefficiency on offense and punishing them with fast breaks and nice open looks. UJ 4 (Thabang Glass) who had a good tournament so far; was having a great game with great mid range shooting and deadly passing. VUT had to deal with UJ 3-2 zone defence and they couldn’t get their shots going from the perimeter while their posts were struggling to get good position inside.

Throughout the game UJ were in the lead but they didn’t build up that huge lead that would enable them to relax. Whenever they looked in control of the situation, they conspired to turn the ball over and leave the door wide open for VUT to make a comeback if there was to be one.

VUT 4 and VUT 7 (Nhlanha and Ayanda) were keeping VUT in the mix with enterprising play and if the posts had come to the party it would have been an interesting final.

Indiscipline in the last quarter by VUT’s (Thabang Kwedi) cost them 6 free throws and 2 Technical fouls and his team couldn’t recover from that. Thabang, a SA national player and VUT player, got into an altercation with the referees and his team’s management after a call made by the referees. This led to players getting off the bench and coaches arguing with the referees, etc…

With no shot clock, UJ played the game at their pace and they never looked like surrendering their lead at any stage.  In the end UJ won with some crucial baskets and passes from their veteran player UJ15 (Thabo Letsebe) who would eventually be named tournament MVP.Final score: UJ 76 – 64 VUT

Game notes: The referees almost lost control of the game and if they had imposed themselves early they could have prevented the incident that took place in the last quarter. UJ have been working towards this for the last 4 years with a number of people working in the background to see this program grow from strength to strength and this victory is the reward for their efforts. UJ coach said that they had set out to confuse the VUT offense by making them believe that their posts were open when they were not. Speaking to UJ captain – Lucky Loate, he said: “We needed other players to step up and be counted because there would be enormous pressure on the point position.” On his views on the tournament, he said that it wasn’t as WOW as the 2008 event in Cape Town but they enjoyed the win.

USSA 2009 All stars in pictures:

USSA 2009 MVPs:

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There Are 12 Brilliant Comments

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  1. kim says:

    Well I agree with Lucky when he says that ‘it wasnt WOW’.I would like to comment on a number of issues but will keep it short.

    I think we as coaches need to be treated with dignity and mistreating a coach is unacceptable for me.If USSA saw fit to appoint Coach Badibanga and sending him correspondence to that effect then when they fealt that they no longer needed him,then they should have done it correctly.If the powers that be cant do something so simple then I get very worried.There is nothing wrong to fire someone when you decide to do so but informing the person in time and maybe the reason would be nice.

    I was impressed with a number of players but only 1 team got me excited.Univ of Limpopo.I think those gals have improved and was happy in the manner in which they played offence and defence.It wasnt so much them beating Wits but comparing this year and last year u could see that alot of work was done.Funny that they went unoticed.Well done to Coach Kenny and his team.LIMPO….POPOPOPOPOPO.

    My dissapointment of the tourney was Wits(Men).They just looked like they were not there to win.I have always said they have alot of potential but seems like they have relaxed now and expect Wins to come their way.

    When Vaal was busy learning to win(ALL these years) they forgot to learn how to lose.Enuf said.

    I would like to congratulate Coach Molupe and Coach Q for being appointed as the USSA coaches for the World Student Games.They have a tough road ahead and I know that they are capable of making SA proud.SA has Germany and Latvia in their pool and hope they can be given all the tools possible for them to make their work bearable.

    Mzansi is behind you!!!

  2. baller says:

    i see we again have issues with coaches appointed and fired even before a team is assembled. are we sure that Molupe and Q will go to the World Student Games? will be keeping my ears to the ground. anyway, congrats to the coaches and the players that were selected.

    VUT mens’ team needs to respect the game as much as other teams respected them when they were winning. i remember there was also the same scenario last year during the GBL finals. losing is part of the game and we only learn from that. UJ, its time to start recruting new players. the team needs new faces with passion and hunger. VUT has done that this year and bet they will come up strong next year.

    UJ ladies, am very much disappointed at how they lost the finals to VUT. what is happening that we don’t know. i sang my lungs out at the stands. please do re-group.

    referees, no further comment.

  3. T says:

    I think dat Kim should have been the coach having accompanied the team in 2005,2007 as assistant coach.I dont think ussa knows what they are doing.Da players were hoping that kim would be head coach cos he kknows the situation and he was with the senior team in mozambkue recenetly.

    This guy keeps on being requested to be assistant and is never given a chance 2 show what he has.Why does he have 2 always be replacement for someone in the last minute.Its funny that a coach like kita is always requesting for Kim.This means that there is something up in that guys(kim) head.

    I wish the team luck and all the best

  4. kim says:

    Please inform me why you think Molupe and Q wont go to the world student games?

    It took UJ that long to finally beat Vaal in USSA maybe the ladies needed 1 more year.

  5. baller says:


    i am just saying seeing that they fired a coach without him even attending a camp or maybe his contract elapsed. on the positive side thou, i support the decision USSA took to appoint Molupe and Q. its high time we groom our local coaches by exposing them to such competitions. and putting Q with Molupe is a good step going forward as i believe Q will learn a lot that will make him grow in the profession.

    as for UJ ladies winning the USSA’s anytime soon, sorry to coach Mandla and Molupe i don’t see it happening next year. maybe after 3 years based on the VUT team roaster i saw in the final. surely UJ is bound to loose some couple of very good players next year which i doubt if they will find replacements unlike VUT which has already found replacements.

    since coaching positions are opening, where can i learn how to coach. i should start now seeing that coaches a biting the dust very quick at USSA national level. please help Kim. a manual will do.

  6. uj supporter says:

    I wish UJ had won the USSA’s this year because in all honestly they’ve worked soo hard in terms of preparation but clearly they only prepared their bodies and failed to prepare their minds.
    How close have they been to getting the trophy? but lose it so close to the finish line.
    In 2007 they lost to VAAl in the semi’s
    in 2008 they lost to tuks in the finals and now they’ve lost in the finals again.

    It’s been 3years with the same team( with min changes) How much harder is it going to be now if they lose players now?
    Im still UJ for life!!!!!!!

  7. kim says:

    Thanks for thinking so highly of me but I would like to differ with your comments because you fell into the mistake of believing everything that you hear.

    Yes I did go to the World Student games with Coach Kita

    What you mean I havent been given an opportuniyty,I was appointed as the ladies coach for the FASU games with the ladies team that received silver in 2006.

    Please also remember that I was appointed as the USSA ladies coach for last year and on the 5th Jan 2009,I wrote to USSA to confirm my appointment which wasnt confirmed and I take it that I am no longer the coach.For me thats a non-issue.

    I firmly believe that we dont have to be part of the travelling team to make a contribution to the team.Coach Molupe and Q know that they have resources when it comes to preparing the team that will go to Serbia.How does one begin to question the coaches ability when they dont even know how those coaches coach.It brings us back to the question of,how can you tell that a coach is good or not.

    Coaches are biting the dust at USSA level…,hahaha.Dont say that man,that subject is very sensitive.I believe that before you take the jump to coaching you should read about coaching in basketball in general.I usually try and think about how I want my team to play(END RESULT) and then work around how to get there.

    A site that I used to use alot is and look under coaching.I try also go to various websites to get drills etc that suit what I long to do.I have never seen 1 coaching manual…..I am not that connected(YET).

  8. baller says:


    haha,i get what you are saying. i will consult my sangoma for a manual. pity no one from USSA will respond to all the issues we want to raise regarding the coaches appointed. i personally have many a questions and it will be fruitless to ask them if they won’t respond.


    if possible, can you atleast interview the USSA Basketball President to find out why the decisions on the coaches and why are we sending only the men’s team.

    secondly, i hear that Slam Dunk has an agreement with BSA to cover all the basketball events hence they were allowed to cover the USSA games. how true is that.

    can someone please keep us informed as we are not that well connected.

    UJ Supporter

    i feel your pain. in sport there is always a second, third, forth, fifth chance to win. to me the UJ players and coaches have to sit down and do an introspection for the past three years and see what went wrong and try rectify that. that is the only way they will move forward.

  9. Hert an Soul UJ Supporter says:

    I’m the heart an soul supporter of UJ.

    Sho..!! Baller

    I respect the fact that VAAL recruited fresh blood, but question is, is it becuz UJ beat them(VAAL) 3 times consecutively after they lost SASSU last year, now you want UJ to recruit. VAAL has been wining games for the past 6-7 years if i’m not mistaken with the same faces. The worst part is when they called their Paul Perce who was there to rescure when VAAL was having hard time against WITS and he caused them FINALS.

    Last year UJ lost it was UJ this UJ that now UJ is at the TOP OF THE PEAK. soooo What?????????????

  10. sibo says:

    On behalf of TuksBasketball we would like to congratulate both the winners, all star players, mvp’s and the national squad of the USSA Basketball National Championships.

    As the host we were priveledged to host such an event and hope that you all enjoyed your stay in Gauteng.

    To the Rhodes ladies team who had to pull out of the tournament after being involved in a car accident on their way to the tournament. We wish you all a speedy recovery.

    2010, I hear we might be going to KZN.

  11. Neo says:

    Hey yall..

    I see that UJ finally managed to get some silverware I.T.O USSA of course. Naah well done to the boys.

    Busta always told me that, if you gonna be part of the greatest you have to be the greatest yourself. Previous players at Vaal have made a name for themselves and now its up to the new guys to prove that they not walking the path that has already been carved but carving their own winning path. The girls still held it down and I still say that on any given Sunday or week day, Vaal will always be setting trends in University basketball.


  12. baller says:

    Heart and Soul UJ Supporter

    i was refering to the ladies section when i talked about recruiting and players leaving probably next year.

    with your men’s team, i think they lost all the hunger and passion they had last year. this year you can see that they are just going through the motions. maybe because they see that they don’t have competition in USSA.

    finally they got the gold and thats what matters for 2009.