South Africa's basketball community

Double standards in Mzansi ball

By on May 4, 2009 in News

With women in basketball soaring the skies and flying the South African flag high;its sad that hats are not coming off for our talented sisters. From being left in the dark in the old days to dominating the national side of basketball recently, to now having qualified for the African Championship that will be held in Madagascar later this year…

Taking a look at the team that went to Zimbabwe for the qualifiers; most of the players are University students playing in the USSA tournament. Fact: In 2005, Turkey World Student Games, the Mzansi ladies underperformed; denying them the opportunity to play in the 2008 World Student Games. Granted they didn’t do well in Turkey, so it was “acceptable” that they would miss the Thailand Games; but why aren’t they going to Serbia later this year?

A few weeks back, Mybasketball had a brief interview with the outgoing president of USSA basketball; Elijah Ncube. We asked “Mr President” straight forward questions that he struggled to answer.Struggle number 1: Why are women not going to the World Student Games this year?

-“We were fighting for them to go, but it’s a battle that we lost. I mean why can soccer take both teams and we can’t?” (How hard did they actually fight for the ladies?…We are talking basketball not soccer. Who are these people that fought?).

Struggle number 2: Mzansi ladies didn’t do so well in Turkey FOUR YEARS ago, is that why they are missing two World student games consecutively, the last time they were featured was in 2005?

-“FISU decides who goes to the tournament and Mozambique is the African country that is going to the tournament this year. They feel that the women won’t perform again if they go this year, some sports codes are also not going.” (Again the same team that qualified to go to Madagascar for the African Champs is dominated by University students, was that taken into consideration?… We are still talking basketball not other sporting codes)

Talking to “Mr President” was like speaking to a politician… One gets a bland answer with no substance. There is no solid reason why South Africa is not taking women to the World student games. It would have been good for them to go as the games could’ve been used as preparation for Madagascar, but yet again, we as Mzansi basketball fail to understand the importance of preparation for big tournaments.

On the other hand, the men’s team is going to Serbia despite the fact that they didn’t win any games in Thailand. No assumptions were made about their under performance in the tournament to come. SASCOC must take a good look at the situation in basketball giving them ammunition to win the next battle for women in basketball (if there ever will be one).

Note: The ladies senior national team will be taking part in a four nations tournament in Angola in May, that will be followed by 3 friendly games in Mozambique and the William Jones Cup in Taiwan in July before they head to the African Championship.

On a lighter note, Mybasketball had the opportunity to attend the USSA national men’s camp that took place at Mandeville in Johannesburg East straight after the USSA tournament. Seven new faces were added to the new team, fresh young hungry guys under the wings of two coaches; Molupe Thelejane who is the ladies assistant coach at the University of Johannesburg as well as Quintin Rapitse the men’s head coach at the University of the Western Cape.

The coaches knew they didn’t have much time to prepare so they got straight to it! Running plays, different defences etc. The coaches said they were happy with the team they selected and the way the guys are jelling together and working hard after the tournament. ” Our goal is to have some wins” said coach Molupe; hence his plan for preparation is to work on the mental and tactical side with the boys as well as working with them individually before the next camp that’s scheduled to be in May (it hasn’t been confirmed yet..).

Molupe wants to spend a lot of time with the players’ one on one, criticizing their games and giving them advice; this means going down the Cape to watch a few games and watching games up here in Gauteng. “All I need are two plane tickets and I will sort out my accommodation”. Hopefully someone will hook coach Molupe up with two return tickets.

We wish the boys luck with games to come, may they do us proud. Mybasketball will keep the readers up to date with the progress of the guys jetting off to Serbia.

Article by Nthabiseng Mushi

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There Are 25 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jay says:

    GBL’s administration need an audit.

  2. baller says:


    why audit GBL administration.

  3. Joe says:


    GBL is administered by Prosport, which is a private company. As such we cannot Prosport is not required to publicly provide an audit for GBL.

    I have asked a question some time back in terms of who/what is the GBL. My understanding is that the GBL does not exist legally, therefore we cannot hold anybody accountable for it.

    GBA is supposed to be the custodian of GBL but I am not sure if this has been clarified contractually with Prosport. So if anyone has to account for GBL, it is GBA. However, since some clubs in the GBL are not affiliated to GBA strucutures these clubs cannot call on GBA to account.

  4. Craig says:

    The USSA team did not consist of the strongest eligible players from the tournament. A serious point to raise is the inclusion of players who either did not have good tournaments or who were basically part of the clean up crew for their excessively strong teams consisting of players who sooner or later will stumble across a decade of SASSU/USSA tournaments.

    Am i the only person that believes that the USSA’s should have an “eligibility rule”, firstly stating players may only have 3 years of eligibility and secondly for those years South Africa sends a representative team to the Universiad a strict age limit of u/24, this in reference to the fact that a number of players who made it to the USSA team were not prominent players on their teams. Around half the teams consisted of players who in their own teams were role players and not pillars, only in the case of UWC did we see the selection of players who were pillars on their teams which was directly related to their teams success, in the case of other players they were certainly the pillars of their team but their teams were not successes. Another suggestion would be the application of a “student first athlete second ” forcing players to be a passing student. it’s hilarious watching players return year after year after after year. ( note the fourth year). it was once argued to me that these players ,might be doing postgrad, and so while at the USSA’s i began to mingle with those players i suspected just to find that some were “2nd years”…hmmm postgrad interesting theory but id need someone to substantiate that first. in the meanwhile the prospecting of coexisisting on a court with guys who it must be assumed ARE failing have basically two lifetimes of USSA experience(6+ USSA’s) and to top it off are proud of their achievements, breaks my heart

    one can point to the selection of the only big man on the team “Chief” as a pretournament selection. as he was given limited minutes even against teams with a terrible height disadvantage. even so in my eyes he has proven himself as a well ground and technically sound player nonetheless. a Similar case can be put forth for one Michael Campbell, who is considered as one of the top 13 players in KZN but he still managed not to make it , he may have began the tournament on a weak note but certainly emerged as an obvious selection as he is the most well rounded tertiary player under the age of 24 in South Africa, at 6″4 with NBA range, which is rarely seen in Sa let alone tertiary level basketball as well as having an extraordinarily mature post up game, facing and back to the hoop.

    had the above suggestions been in place we would have also seen a more even and more enjoyable tournament rather than just watching players who honestly should have graduated a long time ago , quite a few even upto 3 to 4 years . this would also have massive implications for team selection as those players who were on excessively strong teams whould be able to prove themselves without a chip on their shoulder. C’est un dammage

  5. Nthabiseng says:

    Powerfull words from Craig.

  6. Yani says:

    damn…year after year after year after year…SAD INDEED!!!

  7. Joe says:

    Question is, how can we ensure that this is USSA policy?

  8. kim says:

    Getting it to be adopted at the next USSA AGM in 2010

  9. baller says:

    in principle, i agree with what Craig is saying regarding USSA. in essence we would more likely be trying to follow the US College model where players are elligible to play college ball for maximum 4 years.

    in reality, it will be highly impractical for USSA to administer that. remember, we should have a sound administration that deals with tertiary ball all year paid full-time by USSA. for heavens sake, we have players who are playing the USSA’s and not even students cos they fake registrations.

    now, bringing that model into USSA will just create a nightmare as it will also have to create a whole lot of processes that describe who qualifies and does not qualify. like you have the red-shirt system in college for injured players etc.

    we also need to say how do we determine the 4 years. is it from ure 1st level of a degree study or when you busy doing the bridging program. how about someone who goes back to tertiary at age 25? are they not going to play. it just creates too many administration hussles that USSA will never deal. to me its impractical for USSA to do that. look at how coaches are appointed and fired, the women not going to the world student games, no tertiary league, the list is endless.

    they don’t even have a record of how many players are playing tertiary ball around the country let alone their registration. so, we have to get the house in order, hire full time employees paid by USSA basketball for us to start thinking of going to the american model.

    on the issue of players being student athlete, i believe it boils down to coaches and school administrators. if as a coach you do not have a hard line regarding your players education and the school keeps offering the players who are failing bursaries then we have a problem. to me schools should set an educational target for the student athletes and coaches ensure that the players attain the required grades.

    if a player doesn’t, there should be proper intervention and failing which the player should be suspended from basketball and scholarships withdrawn. in that way, we force our players to realise the importance of education but it starts with the coaches and administrators.

    to me, we still have a long way to go in realising the dreams we have on how basketball should be run. if we had a tertiary league and a coach appointed in january, imagine what difference would it have made for him in selecting a team. unfortunately, coaches will turn to select players from their province as they watch them play day in day out. imagine if the USSA coach had the previledge to attend all the USSA qualifiers? surely the team would have looked different.

    there might be a player in WC, KZN, Limpopo etc who’s team did not compete in the USSA championship but made it to the team. but, we all know that its a simple admin issue that is failing us.

    till next time.

  10. Neo says:

    Whatever USSA decides they need to pay careful attention to small detail. USSA championships are the games that students can take part in. If you dont play USSA you will never have another chance of playing varsity ball. Are we going to deny older players a chance to study? Face it no institution will want to give someone a scolarship if they know that they not going to USSA’s. USSA outweigh the GBL and other provincial leagues when it comes to institutions. We could have a qouta system of the number of players in a team but that will have the same effect because the same players will featured more than young players.

    If I decide to go and register for my honours degree at Tuks and they want to offer me a scolarship. In South Africa some of us have benefited financially from basketball. there are some players who never thought that they could go to tertiary until some coach called them and offered them a bursary at the age of 25.

    Take jerry for instance from TUT Lipmpopo, he has to travel to JHB every two weeks so he can ball. If you take away the USSA’s there is nothing his institution can look forward to. In America they a whole range of championships and opportunities for ballers to look forward to. We cannot all of a SUNDAY, now we want to adopt programs from countries who are way different from us i.t.o basketball and culture.

  11. Joe says:

    Eish! Neo you had to throw the spanner in the works (lol), but you do make very good points which never crossed my minds. Ultimately, we need to understand whether the current system or Craig’s proposal is good for the long term benefit of basketball. For me it seems Craig’s speaks more directly to long term benefits while the current system favours individual players and teams.

    Maybe we should then look at marrying the two systems to ensure that both the individual and the long term benefit. Uhmm! This is too proving too deep for my minute brain.

  12. Neo says:

    Until we get programmes like CBL and Summer games that used to happen for institution back in the day, then can we say for selection purposes, no over 24 yr olds.

    In the long term the work rests with the Institutions. If we can make the institutions see the long term goal only then will this ideology work. If institutions can put winning at all costs to the side and try and develop basketball only then will we have 20 or 21 yr olds featuring in our roosters and competing against each other. how do you tell a coacxh that is mandated by the institution that “we spent so much money on basketball so you better produce results” as a coah I will go and take Graig out of retirement and promise the other older players golf 5 at the end of the year.

    I would love to see boys from Wits, Vaal, tukkies, UJ eraning their bursaries on the court not sitting bench while another player who has been playing SASSU’s/USSA’s for a decade.

    Its amazing that in the ladies section its different, they have a pool of players who are under 24 and are playing at national team level. Is it because the stakes are higher at the men’ s division or have the ladies outsmarted us when it comes to graduating. Either way we have to get it right.

  13. peter vice-t says:

    Hey South African ballers. I dont mean to trash talk, but a man has to say what he has to say. Ok anyway, this is a new baller located in limpopo province, well know as VICE-T but Iam Peter Chauke. Well allow ME to get streight to the point, i like to say that all of you male ballers you got your self a new enemy in the courts, more especially if you cant jump. i mean i got same skill to put in practice towards you. No need to breek about it but really Limpopo province got ballers. And i asure you if ever we have the chance to face you guys, you will never know what come on your way. Enough about Limpopo province. All you keep your ball skills oiled Ha Ha Ha…. I LOVE YOU SOUTH AFRICAN BALLERS, AND AM OUT. SWICH! DATS A 3 POINT SHOT

  14. baller says:


    i don’t go to church..Amen..that is what should be done. the same will apply to the national teams besides USSA. with regard to the women and men at tertiary, well i guess women just study harder. or maybe they just naturally intelligent. haha..on the other side, there are just too many men playing the sport and therefore most to graduate and because they are not the so called stars we don’t realise.

  15. kim says:

    I think its unfair to start comparing ladies ballers to men when it comes to studies cos situations are not the same.I can give you numerous examples of ladies that only started getting bursaries at the age of 24 but I dont think thats the issue…..for now.

    Of the institutions that attended the recent USSA’s how many take pride of their womens programme??There 4 or 5 that I counted that dont and that shows by the way those teams took the championships.I am not talking about winning or losing here.I am talking about teams going to a game and try to do their best.Coaches and teams still just bring ladies teams to USSA’s for them to come and have fun.When one of the Kzn teams arrived,everyone was talking about them being the party gals and by tuesday they were at it,Pe College brought 3 and half players,3 of the teams didnt even hold a camp to prepare…..and we want other people to take us serious?Cmon!!

    Institutions currently just want to play USSA and they dont have any vision of anything else in mind.So administrators then just chill and budget for kit and transport for USSA’s.I promise you if we were to work hard and try get institutions to play a more active role in leagues then that would be half our problems solved.I am one person who tries confront issues when they arise but I feel that USSA basketball was tooooooooo cool about the gals not going to Serbia.If they were concerned then I would be producing numerous letters of objection but I only have their stories of what they TRIED to do about the whole situation.

    I know for a fact the guys team will also be scrutinised as they were also on the brink of not attending.All these problems start with us though cos we dont have time anymore to attend a simple AGM………………………………….

    Oh by the way……I havent been censored and NEVER will be!Just for those who thought I was (lmao)

  16. Peggy Sue says:

    Good points have been made, but is the article about older players playing USSA/SASSU or is the article about bouble standards in SA. Lets stick to the brief.

    PS: Again nice points have been made

  17. peter vice-t says:

    hi people. About insuring the number of balls that are going to take part in USSA, i suggest there must be a way of dealing with numbers and ages of ballers taking part in the USSA games like, registering baller who are going to participate in advernce regardless of the qualifiers. Then one other thing i have noticed in here,is that we all lay down what we have seen as problems, but i suggest you take it as a challenge and put your heads together and come up with something that will make basketball a better sports in our coutry. To you the top dogs of BSA please please please as you can see USSA can no longer accormodate all the ballers, it shows that really basketball in our coutry is growing. SO i think is time you implant another type of competition that wil allow every individual to participate. DATS IT from ME! AM SIGNING OUT, LOVE U SOUTH AFRICANS 5 4 3 2 1 Buzzzzz!

  18. kim says:

    Peter VIce-T mentions something that we should actually be pushing for and what Neo touched on…..If ballers at NW university dont play at USSA level then where will they play??45 or 20 yrs old….Where will they play?I feel that lets not necessarily put an agae limit or a quota for that matter.Lets have a YEAR long programme where USSA coaches can go to provinces and watch ballers play and they can choose the best players that they see fit.

    Why do you have to wait for USSA’s and then the following day have a camp for players who just had a gruelling 5 days of playing 2 games a day?Doesnt make sense.Immediately as SA we have numerous competitions in the whole country then we can start having quotas but not having an Under 24 Ussa tournament.If you want under 24 then why dont we start looking for an under 20 or under 23 programme but USSA shouldnt be that platform.

    The point is though that Women bball is not taken seriously by us(clubs,districts,provinces,USSA basketball)then how do we espect USSA Executive to allow us to go to Serbia?

  19. Neo says:

    We can blame BSA or USSA basketball for the double standards they have. The final decision that led to ladies not attending the previous WSG was taken by USSA NEC which consists of all sporting codes. Ous main problem is that top basketball management is unable to convince people, sell, basketball to the people. If someone tells me that my team is not going to the African champs and gives me thweir reasons, mind you the person is not a basketball person, I should step in as a basketball custodian and make that person change his/her mind. Instead of us sitting back and taking the status quo.

    Im tired of feeling like everytime I represent the country some one is doing me favour. One of the NEC members of NEC said “Basketball should be glad that the male team is going” THEY DESERVE TO BE THERE. Even ordinary baller cannot sell our sport to people. We are content with playing games and 10 people watching, thats fine. If you look at the history of The WSG the soccer guys win at most 2 games per championship, but they go reagrdless. Our ladies win 3 once competitionand the next one they lose all. Does that warrant dismissal from the games. That is the argument that should have been raised when the decision was taken 4 years ago not now.

    The current USSA basketball exec needs to compile a report and proposal to reinstate the ladies at the WSG. We need people who can make all those old timers believe in what they trying to archieve. If not we just forget because in the next 2 or 4 years the men’s team will be kicked out without any discussions entered into.

    Nós, como uma nação precisam de crescer em conjunto.

    Nous sommes comme une nation ont besoin de grandir ensemble.

  20. kim says:

    You go to Argentina and come back speaking this toungue of yours(hahahaha).Thats my point,we dont take women ball seriously.I sent an email in January.I phoned dudes in December last year trying to make sure myself and Mandla put the best preparations for this squad in DECADES….WE STILL HAVENT BEEN ANSWERED.

    Its May 22 as we speak today.We not serious.We think we are and blame ALL this old timers but we making the blunders…Nobody but US.

  21. Enough says:

    Now the same person who let the girls down in his term of office at SASSU is the same man leading our BSA.

  22. Craig says:

    The guidelines for how basketball should be run at tertiary level , have been laid down by the NCAA Basketball, so USSA can have as many headache as they want, it’s their own doing. Secondly i agree with Neo , but our consensus is fortified ONLY by the fact that the appropriate structures are not apparent for succesful administration. Baller the reason the a player has 4 years of eligibility in the NCAA is because it takes four years to attain a degree in the United States . And to ratify the scenario you brought up Baller, there has been a case where a basketball player whos institution has not qualified for the USSA’s has been selected for the Universiad (World Student Games) Ayanda Shange in 2007.

    Excuse me because in my previous post i did not structure my argument appropriately and rather relied on my passion for basketball and anger with it’s administration to carry the burden of it.

    Neo on the 1st of January 2008 not even 2009 you knew the finals of the USSA’s for the next two years would be VUT-UJ, You probably know that next years final will be the same fixture. Is it right that this was inevitable, what is the purpose of the USSA’s if teams from all over the country congregate to compete for 3rd ? Another point i should have raised is the regulation of scholarships itself, another reason contributing to this unipolar domination of the sport by the big 2. Neo i would argue what is the purpose of a scholarship if players intend on remaining at varsity for 6 years, how many people let alone, young and up and coming ballers have thier opportunities negated because players have chosen either not to take their studies seriously.

    Essentially what we have here is a monopoly where basketball has been placed in crisis as a result of a lack of competition. Few varsities are as ideally placed, or have the resources as VUT and UJ, such an embracement for lack of competition is understandable at a proffesional level, but not at an amateur level, in the USA the NCAA strives to negate the possibility of such competitive edges held by institutions such as UJ and VUT. This domination will not end for the forseeable future unless someone does something about it. Would you not like a competitive USSA’s some time soon. Those VUT and UJ players aren’t getting any better by playing at the USSA’s and if anything are just there for a vacation.

    Nonetheless i think the prospect of at the very least introducing a “studenf first athlete second clause” would be a very interesting prospect with regards to not just these “basketball” institutions but all. If things do not change we will see the eventual deprecation of the games themselves.

  23. Craig says:

    Frankly who in South Africa cares about basketball other than ballers? most administrators and those who previously did not know that the sport existed before they became Presidents of BSA and chairmans of NEC’s don’t give a damn! They themselves are not judged by their achievements but rather that they prevent the collapse of the negligible structures in place in South African basketball, basketball in South Africa is merely a stepping stone, If we intend on going anywhere we need those more than just passionate aboute the game but also , who have MONEY! The reason the girls aren’t going is because of dialogue similar to this

    Really important executive : The World Student Games commitee wants to know how many teams will we be sending

    Super Duper important executive: Both

    Really Important Executive: Now sir the Nduna(Minister of Sports) is rewarding those sports within USSA which are prepared to cut expenses. Why don’t we not send the girls team and save R500 000, and you can finally afford that trip to the Bahamas and have change to spare to show your commitment to saving cash for the Minister.

    Super Duper important executive: Can we do that? Won’t someone notice ?

    Really important Executive: It’s just Basketball sir. We’ll just say they went, draw a report up and everything.

    Super Duper important executive: why girls over boys?

    Really Important executive:Coz the girls team lost all their games anyway(even though the boys did too,i won’t tell him. i went to the USSA’s and saw all those great guys from UJ and Vaal and i’m sure we can win something).

    Super Duper exec: alright then let’s do it

    Really important exec: how do you do it sir all your brilliant ideas, you sure are smart sir.

    Super Duper exec: Thats why i’m the Super Duper exec and your’e just really important, i should be Minister of something shouldn’t i? call the ANC

  24. kim says:

    I think you raise some really important points in your first post that I really have never thought about and as you raise them they make for some good reading and spot on. What did you mean by this statement…….there has been a case where a basketball player whos institution has not qualified for the USSA’s has been selected for the Universiad (World Student Games) Ayanda Shange in 2007.

    I am not sure about your second post though but I can see that you can have a future in the film industry(lol….am just joking)

  25. baller says:


    i agree on the student athlete “student first and athlete after”..that is the model we all have to accept..unfortunately as i indicated before our institutions have to lead the way in that followed by the coaches. i can not imagine an institution offering a student a full scholarship when that student has failed that year. and also a coach accepting the students to be part of the scholarship program when they do not pass their courses.

    for me, if we were to ask USSA to come up with those mechanisms then we will wait forever. believe you me. lastly i will blame our basketballers for not taking their education seriously. imagine how many other prospective players are sitting on the bench waiting for someone to complete a 3 year program in 8 years. at the end, all of us have to play a part.

    with regard to USSA leadership or bball leadership in general, i said this before. we trust our sport with people who are furthering their political careers and care less about basketball. unfortunately, we as ballers do not want to take responsibility of the sport and therefore this guys saw an opportunity which they are exploiting. will you blame them for hussling? i certainly won’t blame them but rather blame the basketball community for letting this happen year in year out. when are we taking ownership of the sport we so dearly love?

    take USSA for example, the so called chairpersons only resurface at the AGM. apart from that you will never see them anywhere attending a game. yet we still vote them into power. how do we then expect such people to advance our cause. “PROBLEM IS WE AS BASKETBALLERS VOTE THEM INTO POWER” THEN WE COMPLAIN AFTER. Joe has been forever preaching our involvement in grassroot structures and we never do that but are always the first to complain.

    as of now, how many provincial structures are run by basketballers? surely they are few and those are the same people who we have entrusted with our voting powers in BSA. “WE HAVE TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE SPORT”. are we ready for that? metrobus drivers went on strike for weeks and forfeited bread on the table for their families as they believed they fighting for a good cause. can we do that? doctors are striking even with threat of losing their jobs as they believe in their cause. can we do that? public servants are about to strike also for advancing their cause. can we do that? how far are we willing to go for the cause we believe in?